With more and more people in the United States getting vaccinated, many are worried that some will try to cut the line.
More than 140,000 Massachusetts residents, mostly COVID-19 facing healthcare professionals, have already received their first dose, according to state officials.
Public health statistics show that while the federal government has shipped 328,000 doses of the vaccine, only 44 percent have been administered.
“Certainly we would like this vaccine to be going out more quickly,” Vaccine distribution expert and Carolina University Professor Julie Swann said.
Swann worked with the Center for Disease Control during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and said that just because the vaccine has shipped, does not mean it has arrived.
According to her, there is also a 24 to 72 hour reporting lag on the back end.
“Sometimes there are doses being stockpiled so you have enough to reach everyone in a facility,” she said. ‘Let’s say you’re going into a nursing home, you wouldn’t want to come in and just vaccinate part of that group.”
In Rhode Island, state officials reported that hundreds of people tried to cut the line and gain early access to the vaccine when people they knew in Phase 1 shared their special registration link with family and friends.
For this, Swann said there is a simple fix.
“We certainly have the ability to generate a different link for each person and tell them that’s how it’s being done so they would know that link is only for them to use,” she said.
In Brockton, a neighborhood health center tossed doses of the Moderna vaccine in the trash Christmas Eve when those scheduled to be inoculated never showed up.
The vaccine comes in vials containing 10 doses and once it is thawed, it is only good for up to six hours.
To ensure this kind of thing never happens again, Swann suggests, “have a set of people that you have as backups that you could bring in at the last minute if you have some extra vaccines.”
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