What happens when vaccine recipients cancel their appointments?

Posted at 5:45 PM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 19:09:38-05

The shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in the Tri-State has made headlines in recent weeks, but that only tells part of the story. In some cases, there are extra doses that, if not administered quickly enough, will become unusable.

"When we're scheduling vaccination appointments, we know going in that there will be a certain number of people who don't show up for those appointments for whatever reason," said Mike Samet with Hamilton County Public Health.

Samet said sometimes people get sick or they've already received the vaccination somewhere else and fail to cancel their appointment. In such cases, he said, his agency has reached out to law enforcement -- who do not yet appear on any of Ohio's vaccine-qualifying tiers.

"We will often seek out law enforcement in the neighborhood in which we're running the clinic, who has not yet been vaccinated, to make sure that they get the first call for vaccination," Samet said. "We can argue tiers and who goes in there all day long, but our men and women in blue deserve vaccination."

Other jurisdictions handle unused vaccine doses differently.

In Clermont County, public health officials said they will call the next in line on their waiting list. If they're short on time, they'll call from a list of people 65 and older who live nearby.

In Northern Kentucky, the regional health department there also has contacts nearby to take extra doses.

All health agencies with whom WCPO spoke Thursday suggested that anyone with a vaccine appointment they cannot make give as much advance notice as possible and to immediately remove one's name from a waiting list once they have received the vaccine.