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Thousands of Covid-19 vaccine doses in danger of going to waste

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    PHILADELPHIA (KYW) — The clock is ticking. About 4,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are in danger of going to waste at FEMA’s mass vaccination site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The line outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Wednesday was nothing compared to just a couple of weeks ago when people struggled to find a vaccine in the city of Philadelphia.

Still, Luis Ramirez wasn’t taking any chances and made sure he was the first to get his shot at the convention center Wednesday morning.

“I want to make sure that I’m safe for myself and safe for others,” Ramirez said.

FEMA officials who run the Center City site say this is the first week lines have been this short.

And now, there’s concern supply is outpacing demand.

“The city has a lot of vaccines in cold storage that do have to get used in a very short timeline,” FEMA External Affairs Officer Charlie Elison said.

In fact, citywide, health officials say roughly 4,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine are now in jeopardy of expiring if they’re not administered by Thursday.

Eyewitness News was at Centennial Pharmacy on Delaware Avenue on Tuesday as health care workers rushed to get shots in arms. But by the end of the day, more than 500 doses expired and had to be thrown out.

Once a vaccine vile has been opened, those doses inside have a short span where they can be used.

At the Center City mass vaccination site that hasn’t happened yet.

“But there could be a point in the future where that does happen, so we just encourage everyone to get their vaccine. Lots of opportunities for walk-ups,” Elison said.

If you have not been vaccinated or are waiting for your second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, head to the convention center.

No appointment is needed. The doors are open to everyone 16 and older who live or work in the city.

The site is using the Pfizer vaccine and will administer first shots, as well as second doses to those who need it.

On Saturday, the site will offer Johnson and Johnson’s one-dose vaccine by appointment.

“If that goes well, we’ll continue to do Johnson and Johnson. We want to see what the demand will be like,” Elison said. ”

Finally, the CDC updated some guidance yesterday that if you’re fully vaccinated you can go outside without a mask and interact with others. If you need a little more incentive, a little shot in the arm as an incentive to come out here. Come out and get vaccinated. We’re happy to help.”

On its busiest day, health officials at the convention center say it could take up to an hour and a half to get through the line and get a shot. With current demand, it’s only expected to take 30 minutes.

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