3/3 © Reuters. José Luis Espinoza looks before receiving a dose of the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after waiting for the remainder at a clinic in Santa Fe Springs, California, United States 2/3
By Norma Galeana SANTA FE SPRINGS, California (Reuters) – José Luis Espinoza had been searching for a COVID-19 vaccine for more than three weeks. He hadn’t hugged his 98-year-old father in a long time and hoped a vaccine would change that. Last week, he found gold in Santa Fe Springs. “It was the last dose they gave, and I was the lucky one,” said the 68-year-old. The search for leftover vaccine doses is widespread and competitive in Los Angeles. The wait can take hours outside of a clinic or vaccination site, and most people are turned away without a vaccine. Clinics have doses left over when people cancel appointments at the last minute or don’t show up. Once opened, the vaccine vials have an expiration date: 5 days for Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 and 30 days for Moderna (NASDAQ :). “We need to make sure if we are going to get that vaccine, that we have the people signed up and that the resources and the event are scheduled,” said Will Baker, manager of the CARE Ambulance private ambulance service clinic, emphasizing the importance of not wasting any of the precious doses. “NEVER GUARANTEED” Vaccine hunters have been criticized for receiving doses when it is not their turn, perhaps taking them away from someone who might need them more. “I’m here hoping there’s something left,” said Cynthia Perez, 48, the first to arrive when the Santa Fe Springs clinic opened at 2:00 pm. “So I’m not trying to jump the line. I’m just trying to take advantage of any vaccine or any dose that can be thrown away,” he said. Pérez said that she had a son with asthma and that she was in poor health herself, adding: “I’m trying to get a little ahead of myself and stay healthy.” As the night wore on, the line of pursuers outside the clinic grew and Baker jotted down their details. Throughout the day, she counted the remaining doses at each vaccination station, reviewed the appointment list, and did the math. When the clinic closed at 6 in the afternoon, and only one shot remained, he called Espinoza. “I went through the guidelines and looked for anyone on the line that was 1A,” Baker explained, referring to the first category of vaccine allocation recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We had one person. in line that met criteria 1A and we were able to get him a shot today, “he said. Then Baker came out and told the rest of the line that there were no more doses for the day, apologizing and thanking everyone for their patience. Pérez picked up her bag and headed home, disappointed but not deterred. “You can’t be upset. It’s never guaranteed,” he said.