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Use it or lose it: how some are getting vaccines early

PULLMAN, Wash. (Murrow News 8) – Rebecca Schneider was in a scramble for the vaccine.

She signed up for three different ‘no waste lists’ – a colloquialism for vaccinations sites to administer extra doses of the vaccine before they expire.

“We were like 200th on the list, [Pullman Regional Hospital] was like, ‘you gotta try somewhere else.’”

Through the word of a friend, she tried 40 miles south in Clarkston, Washington.

“There was no one there. Literally, no one,” she said. “Me, my roommate, and some random guy.”

She didn’t even need an appointment – every slot was open for the next two weeks according to Schneider.

The CDC says vaccines cannot be refrozen once thawed. If they are expected to be administered, it’s a matter of hours according to Southeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team Public Information Officer Jon Funfar. He says Benton-Franklin Health District uses a ‘holding line’ where people wait standby on site for extra doses at the end of the day.

“If we do have those extra vaccines and they are in the holding line, they are administered. The point being that no vaccine goes to waste,” Funfar said. “We’re not encouraging people to show up without an appointment, but we’re not turning people away necessarily unless we are out of vaccines for the day.”

“We don’t want to take it away from anyone else who needs it,” Schneider said. “That’s not what we want to do.”

“Directed by the Department of Health, the intent is to get shots in arms,” Funfar said.

Governor Jay Inslee announced that all Washington adults will be eligible for the vaccine by April 15th. If you would like to place yourself in a ‘holding line’ or ‘no waste list,’ contact your local vaccination sites.

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