Due to the intricacies around the extremely cold storage that the COVID vaccines require, there are rare occasions where "spare doses" may go unused & should be made available to anyone.
When a distribution site defrosts a tray with 100s of vials, they must use all the doses between 5 and 24 hours (depending on the manufacturer) -- before, according to their protocol, the remaining doses must be thrown out. When there are no shows at the end of the day, some providers will start letting anyone they can find through the door to have their first shot.
We aim to help connect and crowdsource information about vaccine distribution sites that have expiring doses with the goal of getting ANYONE that's mobile and ready their first dose.
These are just suggestions and there is no guaranteed way to find soon-to-expire vaccines. Please make sure to respect others when searching.
Search for Local Vaccination Standby Lists
Take a look at some of your local vaccination clinics websites to see if they offer a "standby list", "rapid on-call list", or "cancellation list". These are often the easiest way to get a chance at a leftover vaccine.
Call your Local Vaccination Providers
If you cannot find any information about leftover vaccines on their website, call and ask if they usually have any available and how they are distributed. (Please share your findings with your local group as not to overwhelm providers phone lines)
Visit your Local Vaccine Provider Around Closing. (2PM-5PM)
Some providers allow lines to distribute excess vaccines at the end of the day. Please check to make sure they allow waiting and share your findings with your local group.
Let's answer your questions!
Do I need to be in the current priority group to get a leftover vaccine?
In most cases, it is not required. We have seen some providers will start offering them by age. (75+, 65+ and so on)
Why did 'Vaccine Hunting' start?
Simply put, to ensure no vaccines are wasted!
Once vaccines are taken out of refrigeration, they cannot be refrozen - which means there is a ticking clock before every dose goes bad. It is horrifying to read accounts from across the globe of doses being thrown in the trash.
Vaccine Hunter's goal is to help match spare/leftover vaccines with those who are ready and available.
But isn't this just ‘skipping the line.’?
Far from it.
It’s like the Single Rider Line at theme parks; we are creating a standby line to fill in the gaps when the line of people in the current prioritization group runs out & there are remaining doses that need to be used before they expire.
This is about preventing spare vaccines from ending up in the trash & ensuring all available vaccines get put into arms. Any arm is better than the trash.
How are local groups the solution?
We need local communities to help collect and spread information specific to them.
VaccineHunter.org helps aggregate all these local groups that are helping distribute and crowdsource information about unused/soon-to-expire vaccines.
We hope to utilize these groups once a centralized system is created to distribute these extra vaccines.
Are these groups actually helping people find soon-to-expire vaccines?
YES! Here are some of the recent success stories.
2/2/2021: Someone in Los Angeles who couldn’t find an appointment got the vaccine by waiting 5 hours in an unofficial vaccination line outside the Men’s Health Foundation starting at 12pm.
FB Group Link
2/2/2021: 40 people received leftover vaccines at the end of the day Tuesday in San Diego. The youngest was 57.
FOX 5 San Diego