Leftover dose vaccine recipients reporting challenges booking 2nd shot

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Sometimes COVID-19 vaccine providers are able to draw an extra shot out of a vial. Other times no-shows may result in extra doses at the end of the day. In these situations, some providers call people on a waitlist to get a leftover dose.

But in rare cases, doses aren’t available for people who got leftover shots when it comes time for second doses.

Charlotte resident and University of Oxford student Luke Drago applied to be on several waitlists and got a call from Walgreens.

“I got a call at 8:30 the night of basically told me, ‘we have an extra dose, can you be here in an hour?’ Drago said. “It was about 50 minutes away. I got in my car and got there as fast as I could and got the extra dose of Moderna.”

Walgreens told him when it is time for a second dose in a couple weeks to schedule it through their website. Drago tried, but nothing was available. He said calls to the pharmacy were unsuccessful too.

“I refreshed throughout the entire day over and over again once every hour because they said it would update just to find a dose,” Drago said. “I already have the first dose, the clock is ticking for me to get a second dose into my arm,” he said.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department says people running into this issue should try to go through the provider of their first shot and if that doesn’t work, give the Mecklenburg County COVID hotline a call at 980-314-9400 or email MeckCVMS@mecknc.gov and health officials will help you track down an appointment.

If that fails, check with other providers including local pharmacies.

Drago found a second dose appointment available through CVS. Despite the chaos, he said the vaccine was worth it.

“I’ve got no regrets. My family is safer because I am vaccinated. I am less likely to spread it because I am vaccinated,” he said. “To be able to know I am not going to bring covid back home to my family and if I do it will be much weaker it is something I am really happy about.”

The CDC states that second doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be administered up to 42 days after the first dose. For Pfizer, the earliest a shot can be administered is 21 days. For Moderna, the earliest is 28 days.