KANSAS CITY, Mo — The Kansas City Veterans Administration put out an alert Tuesday night that they had extra vaccines and needed people to vaccinate.
Leftover vaccines are more common than you might think.
The KC VA usually gets about 1,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine each week but this week received 3,000. Monday and Tuesday the VA set up 1,500 vaccine appointments for veterans each day, but the weather kept many folks away and unused doses were in danger of spoiling.
“At certain points of the day, when you start seeing the doses remaining that high, like around like 6pm when we were only planning on going to 8pm, you know, it’s unnerving,” said KC VA Medical Center Director David Isaacs.
The VA used its call center, text list, robo calls, relationships with veterans service organizations and the media to administer the vaccine doses.
‘We went about three hours longer last night than we were planning on to, but we finally did have enough of our veterans show up and we were able to use every dose that we were allotted of the remaining 200,” Isaacs said.
Leftover or extra doses of COVID-19 vaccine is not uncommon.
“We usually get at least six doses out of every vial for the Pfizer vaccine but occasionally, I would say about 10% or 20% of the time, we will get seven doses out of that vial,” said Corrie Courtney with the Clay County Public Health Center.
Clay County sometimes has leftover doses at the end of a clinic but not 200, usually just a few. The county pulls from their waiting list to offer vaccines.
“We’ve been we’ve been grateful to not have had to waste,” Courtney said.
It’s the same story in Johnson County.
“Of course, we want to get the vaccine into the arms of as many people as possible,” said Johnson County Health Director Dr. Sanmi Areola.
Johnson County staffs 20 vaccinators at many of its clinics. Unused vaccines have been used to vaccinate them, offered to law enforcement or others on the waiting list, with no worries about getting the second dose.
“That’s been our principle, if you if we give you the first dose, you are eligible for the second,” Areola said.
Pubic health officials encourage people to sign up for the vaccine as many places as possible and when you are offered the vaccine, take it.