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Health officer: Some vaccines will be wasted

WNEM

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    Michigan (WNEM) -- More walk-in vaccine clinics are popping up across mid-Michigan with hopes to get as many people as possible vaccinated against the coronavirus as quickly as possible.

With the uncertainty of walk-in appointments, the state’s vaccine supply could take a hit.

"You are going to see some vaccines wasted," said Steve Hall, health officer for the Central Michigan District Health Department.

"If it's a clinic that ends at 4 o'clock and somebody walks in at say 3:50 and you're dealing with Moderna, are you going to vaccinate them or are you going to turn them away? If you do vaccinate them and you got to open a new vile, you potentially have nine doses, there," Hall said.

Hall is quick to point out every effort is made not to waste vaccines. The same goes for Delicia Pruitt, the medical director for the Saginaw County Health Department.

Pruitt said there are options to vaccinate people who show up to walk-in clinics last minute and not waste vaccines. One option is asking them to come back the next day.

"We've even waited until after the time of the clinics to wait for more people to come in," Pruitt said.

If no one shows up after the last vile is opened, some doses go elsewhere.

"I have personally driven some doses over to another health system to see if they can immunize people," Pruitt said.

Pruitt said she can only recall one instance when three doses of the vaccine were lost. She wants people to know even if someone shows up moments before the walk-in clinic is scheduled to end, they will be vaccinated.

"When people come to our walk-in clinic, we want them to know that we're going to do everything we can to give them that vaccine that same day," Pruitt said.

Earlier in the pandemic, health departments could just go down their list and call more people to save unused doses. Now, Hall said they are having to adjust to avoid wasting vaccines.

"We're getting to that point where the amount of people that previously were on lists or that you could bring in quickly, we don't have that anymore. So, I think that's another issue that we're all facing in the state," Hall said.

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