Health Wellness (Parrish Healthcare)

COVID vaccine wait list: How to claim “extra” doses regardless of age

ORLANDO, Fla. — Pharmacists say COVID-19 vaccination “no-shows” are leaving them with extra doses that could end up going to waste.

When a person fails to meet an appointment, the pharmacist is stuck with a thawed vaccine vial that could go bad.

READ: Study: Rapid COVID-19 vaccine rollout “backfired” in Florida

In order to reduce the amount of vaccines being discarded, Walmart has developed what they’re calling a “waste-avoidance” list, allowing people 18 and older to get in line for the extra dose.

That person then has about an hour to get to the pharmacy and get the shot if they’re called.

A 35-year-old Central Florida man says he was able to get a shot because one Walmart had extra doses.

“It’s heartbreaking to know that some stuff’s been thrown out.”

He’s asked not to be identified because of the backlash he says he received when he first shared his experience on social media.

He’s a highly vulnerable cancer survivor and says he was desperate to get the vaccine by the time he learned about Walmart’s waste-avoidance list.

READ: Orange County leaders seeking more COVID-19 vaccine doses to meet demand

“If there was anything left at the end of the day that they were not going to use, where people didn’t show up for appointments, they would call us and let us come back and get one of the vaccines.”

He says he put his name on the list, waited, and was ultimately successful.

“It was a huge sigh of relief.”

A majority of Central Florida Walmart pharmacies confirmed they’re all keeping such a list, but some said they’ve temporarily stopped adding names.

As for other retail pharmacies, Publix says their extra doses will go to eligible employees.

CVS says they’re using patient profiles to identify people eligible to receive leftover vaccines. Walgreens is taking a similar approach, meaning Walmart, so far, is the only retailer making the offer.

READ: ‘I am still struggling’: Woman who lost husband to COVID-19 continues battling symptoms herself

When asked if he regrets his decision because of the criticism on social media, the cancer survivor says, not at all.

“If it’s not taken that day, it’s going to be thrown away...They want to get those shots into somebody’s arm.