YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – To get the COVID-19 Vaccine right now, you’re supposed to be in one of the groups on the state eligibility list. That’s because the vaccine is in limited supply.
The vaccine also has a shelf life. It needs to be given within hours after being taken out of refrigeration.
“Mercy Health has not wasted a single dose,” said Dr. James Kravec, chief medical officer at Mercy Health Youngstown.
The challenge is how to make sure every dose gets given to someone.
“Occasionally, we do have some leftover doses,” Kravec said
Mercy Health looks to whoever they can get it to quickly.
“We have our patients downstairs or next door at our primary care offices, and we’re able to go and ask them if they’re interested in receiving the dose,” Kravec said.
They offer extra vaccines to patients at one of their four primary care locations. They try to stick to people who qualify for Phase 1B but will give it to someone younger to make sure a dose isn’t wasted.
In Youngstown, health commissioner Erin Bishop says they have a waitlist, which they use if extra vaccines become available.
“What we would try to do is get someone in that category,” Bishop said. “It’s one of those calls like hey, can you be down here in 30 minutes?”
Mercy Health hasn’t seen any “vaccine chasers” or “vaccine hunters.” That’s what some are calling people who do not qualify for the vaccine but show up to clinics hoping some are leftover. Youngstown has had a few people stop by their clinics looking for a shot.
“I’m very proud to say that since the very beginning, we have never had one dose left over. We always finish it to the very last drop every day,” Bishop said.
To get a COVID-19 vaccine through the city or Mercy Health, you must register and make an appointment.