'Vaccine Hunters' group continues push for access to leftover vaccines in Wisconsin

Posted at 10:24 PM, Mar 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 07:52:10-04

MILWAUKEE — Every adult in America will become eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in less than two months. However, many Wisconsinites not-yet eligible are still looking to get it early.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel, but COVID-19's threat is still very real.

“People are gearing up and preparing for the endgame. And the endgame is making sure that everybody who wants a shot gets a shot and we will do that,” said Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.

In the meantime – many not yet eligible for vaccination are on the hunt. They're turning to social media, hoping to score on an early vaccine through communities on social media and other ways.

“This to me was what social media was meant and intended to do,” said Bob Orech, organizer of a Facebook group, helping others find vaccines.

The Facebook group Milwaukee & Wisconsin Vaccine Hunters and Angels has helped some find opportunities to receive vaccines that would’ve otherwise gone to waste.

“We don’t advocate line skipping but we don’t want a dose to go to waste,” Orech said.

Dr. Hashim Zaibak of Hayat Pharmacy says they’ve managed to avoid having many leftover vaccine doses by mixing fewer vaccines on an as-needed basis.

“It’s really difficult because if you mix 100 vaccines and only 50 people show up, then you’re left with 50 doses, then you have to find volunteers or find patients to get,” Zaibak said.

Zaibak said some people not yet eligible have successfully waited until the end of a workday for a walk-in vaccination left over - despite the low odds. However, staffers will always prioritize the people closest to eligible out of any waiting group.

“Lets say if you have three doses and 20 people outside, then you start screening for semi-eligibility or somewhat eligible,” he said.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports about 21 percent of Wisconsinites have already received at least one dose of the vaccine.

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