Amid statewide efforts to increase the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccination hub at Moscone Center in San Francisco has distributed leftover vaccines at the closing of each daily vaccination period to individuals who do not have appointments or eligibility.
UC Berkeley senior Katie Kim, who is eligible for the vaccine as a student working on campus at the College of Chemistry, received her first dose March 11. In a post made on the Overheard at UC Berkeley Facebook page, Kim described her experience showing up to the vaccination site for her 4:15 p.m. appointment.
“During the last hour of their day (4 to 5) they take a count of everyone in the building and if they have leftover vaccines they give shots out to people on the streets (so that they don’t waste any vials),” Kim said in the post.
In response to the original Facebook post, students discussed the logistics of receiving follow-up appointments after obtaining the first dose. Cindy Petrak, a nurse at Providence St. Joseph Hospital, noted in a Facebook comment that second appointments are able to be made once the first dose is administered.
Kaiser Permanente spokesperson Matt Skryja emphasized that individuals are discouraged from lining up and waiting outside the vaccination site, noting that standard practice is for individuals to make appointments to receive the vaccine.
Vaccines are only distributed to those waiting without an appointment at the Moscone vaccination hub, which is operated by Kaiser Permanente, if there are small numbers of unused vaccines left over at the end of the day, Skryja added.
“Occasionally, when small amounts of unused vaccines are left over at the end of the day, vaccines may be made available to a limited number of people who do not have appointments by outreach to them,” Skryja said in an email. “We do not encourage anyone to line up or wait outside, as this will not be an effective way to get vaccinated.
As of press time, individuals qualified under guidelines from the California Department of Public Health to receive a vaccination from the Moscone vaccine hub include health care workers and individuals ages 65 years and older.
Education and child care workers, food and agriculture workers, people with certain health conditions or disabilities and people experiencing homelessness are also eligible to receive the vaccine. Insurance is not required to make an appointment and receive a vaccine, according to the vaccination center’s website.
Although individuals in any of these sectors are eligible to make appointments to receive the vaccine, the Alameda County Public Health Department advises individuals who have the option to work from home or do not work in direct contact with the public to wait for others who are at greater risk of infection to get vaccinated.