What happens when people don't show up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments? ASU grad lobbies for standby list

More people are getting vaccinated across the state as over 766,000 people have received their COVID-19 vaccine. 

Maricopa County has vaccinated over 324,000 people and there are many more that want to get vaccinated, but haven't been able to.

On Feb. 3, the 21,000 new slots that opened up for vaccinations in Phoenix filled up in less than 45 minutes. Thousands of people have appointments, but what happens to the vaccines when people don't show up?

A recent Arizona State University graduate started a campaign to lobby the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to create a COVID-19 vaccine standby list, in which residents would be contacted if it looks like there will be any leftover vaccines at the end of the day at county-run pods.

"The website has been up for under 48 hours now and we have about 400 names on the list so far," said Sukhmani Singh.

MORE: How to sign up and schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Singh started the website during the week of Feb. 1 after MCDPH stated 553 COVID-19 vaccine doses recently went to waste across its five pods within a one-month period. County officials did not say whether they would consider a standby list, but stated:

"It just seems silly that there's not one in place.. it seems dangerous," said Singh. "So there needs to be some kind of system in place to quickly call somebody, get down here, get this vaccine."

Hospital and county officials say leftover doses typically go to site volunteers or law enforcement at the end of the day.

MORE: Maricopa County COVID-19 vaccine status updates

"We have a process of overbooking appointments. We have a process for the end of the day that every single vaccine goes into somebody's arm," explained Dr. Marjorie Bessel, Banner Health's Chief Clinical Officer.

Health officials in Nashville, Tennessee implemented a COVID-standby list in January. Four names are drawn daily at a certain time. A health worker notifies them that they have 30 minutes to get the vaccine.

"Even if their standby list is 1,000 people and only one gets called, that vaccine was saved," said Singh.

Online: https://www.novaccineswasted.com

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