AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Medical Association is telling the more than 55,000 doctors and medical students it represents to make sure no COVID-19 vaccine doses are wasted, even if that means calling up family and friends to vaccinate them.
Doctors have occasionally been finding themselves in a race against time when their workday comes to an end. In some cases, they have open vials of the vaccine that will expire in hours.
“It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen,” said TMA President Diana Fite.
Fite said doctors should not be afraid to reach out to people they know and try to use the extra doses.
“You can’t save it after six hours of the Pfizer one, for instance. You have to throw it out if that’s the case,” Fite said. “You’re supposed to try to find someone that’s in the bracket that you’re vaccinating, but if you can’t, you can just get anybody you can find to give that vaccination. Do not waste it.”
The issue came to a head last month when a Houston doctor was arrested for allegedly stealing nine doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from a vaccination site and giving them to people he knew, including his wife.
However, the charges were later dropped. The doctor’s attorney said he tried to give the doses to other healthcare workers and even law enforcement before turning to people he knew.
Fite said vaccine distributors should consider making a list of people to call in the event it has extra doses at the end of the day.
“Think ahead of maybe a policy that could maybe be put in place,” Fite said. “But there’s nothing wrong with calling people that you know, even if they happen to be family members. If that’s the only option left, don’t waste the vaccine.”