Online platforms hope to connect people with leftover COVID-19 vaccine doses

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- At the end of the day, some pharmacies and clinics may have leftover COVID-19 vaccines. State officials say those vaccines could be given to non-eligible groups if they must, in order to avoid waste. Now, a number of online platforms are hoping to connect people to those leftover doses.

Hayat Pharmacy says they often see people lining up at the end of their vaccine clinics, but that doesn’t mean everyone waiting gets one.

“They wait until the end of the day and they ask us, do you have any leftover vaccines?” said Hashim Zaibak, founder of Hayat Pharmacy.

Zaibak says his vaccine clinics screen people waiting at the end of the day, to see who is eligible.

“If there’s like 10 people waiting outside and we have three doses, then we obviously have to prioritize the people who are qualified or almost qualified,” he adds.

“At the end of the day, if there are leftover doses, yes, they can be given to other people,” said Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Wisconsin DHS says the state is currently the best in the nation with the percentage of vaccines getting into people’s arms.

“You know we get 92-percent of vaccines in arms within a week, and the national average is around 78-percent,” adds Willems Van Dijk.

Online platforms have fueled new ways of finding leftover vaccines. A new website called Dr. B hopes to connect people with their local providers who have leftover COVID-19 vaccines. A Dr. B representative tells CBS 58 while they are trying to launch in Wisconsin as quickly as possible, people in the state can begin signing up now.

Facebook groups like Milwaukee & Wisconsin Area Vaccine Hunters and Angels have also gained momentum with more than 2,000 members.

“This is like liquid gold, we can’t waste any of it, so we have to make sure that we are utilizing every single drop of that vaccine,” Zaibak says.

During a typical vaccine clinic, Zaibak says the number of leftover doses depend on which manufacturer they use. The doses must be used before the end of the day.

“It’s less than five doses leftover if you’re doing a Pfizer clinic, and less than 10 doses if you’re doing a Moderna clinic,” he said.

“A vial of Moderna has 10 doses in it, once you put a needle into that vial to draw the first dose out, you have to use all of those doses within six hours,” said Willems Van Dijk.   

Typically, only one to three doses at Hayat Pharmacy clinics actually end up going to people who are not yet eligible.

“A lot of times the answer is going to be ‘no’ because of the limited supply at this point, so just be patient,” adds Zaibak.

Hayat pharmacy will have three more vaccine clinics this week, on Thursday, March 11, Friday, March 12, and Saturday, March 13 at 813 W. Layton Ave. The clinics begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m. Saturday’s clinic ends at 4:30 p.m.

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