Some area providers faced with wasting COVID vaccines as appointments are missed

WEBB CITY, Mo. – Some area vaccine providers are facing an issue they’re trying to avoid wasting vaccines.

Prater’s Pharmacy in Webb City offers COVID-19 vaccines, however, they’re running into an issue of people not making their appointments. Prater’s Pharmacy Owner and Pharmacist Koby Prater says “Missed appointments affect all of us, not just the pharmacies, it affects the hospitals and other providers that are vaccinating, because, these vials do not have preservative in them, so if there’s ten doses in a vial, we need to make sure we have ten people lined up, because it’s got to be used within twelve hours of opening.”

That leads to wasted vaccines. “If somebody doesn’t show up or cancels at the last minute, to avoid wasting doses, we’re then kind of searching for somebody else that can come in and get it immediately, if we can’t do that, the dose is wasted unfortunately.”

Prater says the other issue is people not coming in for scheduled second doses. “If somebody doesn’t show up for their second dose, it’s pretty much wasted because if we were to use that as a first dose for somebody, we couldn’t guarantee that we’d have a dose, their second dose for them just because of the way the government sends the vaccine automatically for the second dose.”

We reached out to other providers in our area and got some mixed responses. Some say, they’ve wasted no vaccines, to just a few. Others have wasted higher amounts close to 30. Prater says there’s one thing you can do to prevent providers from wasting vaccines. “If you have an appointment with any provider for your vaccine I would just ask that you keep that appointment, even if something comes available sooner, we’re not trying to be rigid about that, it’s just, there’s a lot of planning involved and if you do cancel that appointment we do need to fill that spot or the vaccine will go wasted.”

Prater says once a vaccine vial is opened, it can’t be transferred to another facility or put back into cold storage.