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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

IU Health: COVID-19 vaccines are not being wasted

The hospitals have a process in place when extra doses of the vaccine become available

About 78,000 more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are headed to Indiana next week as more Hoosiers 70 and older sign up to get the shot. 

But hospitals are running into an unusual problem. 

IU Health tells 13News people are showing up at the end of the day to get “leftover” COVID-19 vaccines. There was speculation that extra doses are being thrown out at the end of the day.  

IU Health says that is not the case. 

“We don’t have extra vaccines at the end of the day for people to just show up and expect that one will be available,” said Dr. Chris Weaver, Chief Clinical Officer at IU Health..  

He said IU Health has a process in place when extra doses of the vaccine become available. While rare, he said it can happen when someone misses an appointment.  

“The best part is we’ve been able to manage and idealize our operations enough that there are very few such doses at the end of the day, and then we have those options to use that allow us to make sure we don’t waste any,” Weaver said.  

That includes reaching out to eligible health care workers who are nearby and meet the criteria. There is also a list of patients who qualify. 

“Each site has a great process in place that allows us to reach out to individuals or to have individuals ready that meet the criteria that we can give the vaccine to,” Dr. Weaver said.  

Doses must be used quickly because once a vial is started, it’s only good for five to six hours. 

“It is really important for us to be able to get it to those that are highest-risk that are being prioritized,” Dr. Weaver said.  

As vaccine clinics continue to crank out thousands of shots a day, health officials ask Hoosiers to be patient and wait their turn.   

About 3,200 doses are administered each day at seven IU Health vaccine sites.