DANVERS, Mass. (WPRI) — Long lines formed outside of the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers Wednesday night when word about extra doses spread on social media.
The DoubleTree, which serves as one of the mass vaccination sites in Massachusetts, allowed residents not in Phase 1 or over the age of 75, to get their first dose Wednesday night, according to WBZ in Boston.
Elizabeth Brenner, 34, waited for hours and said she received her first dose.
“Right around six, someone came out and was like, ‘there are 20 of you, and I have 300 doses, so call people that you know and tell them to come down here,'” Brenner said.
A Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) official sent a statement to WBZ reading, “All individuals must have a scheduled appointment for any site, including mass vaccination sites, and be eligible for a vaccine.”
Guidance on the state’s website regarding extra doses says vaccinators can continue to vaccinate anyone in a currently eligible priority group in accordance with the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan.
Phase 2 of the state’s vaccine distribution plan began Feb. 1, prioritizing residents 75 and older in the first group. Once that group is vaccinated, people over the age of 65 will become eligible.
DPH has not commented on the situation in Danvers.
According to the appointment page for the DoubleTree, the mass vaccination site uses Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine. Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures of -70°C, while Moderna’s vaccine needs to be kept at -20°C.
According to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine U.S. Distribution Fact Sheet, once thawed and stored under 2-8°C conditions, the vials cannot be re-frozen or stored under frozen conditions.
The state does not have guidance regarding unused doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, but offers guidance for unused doses of Moderna:
Once a vial of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been entered, it must be used within 6 hours. Be sure to note the time the vial was first entered on the vial. Any vaccine remaining in the vial after 6 hours must be discarded.
Careful planning is important to ensure that COVID-19 vaccine is not wasted. It is essential that you have 10 people confirmed for vaccination within 6 hours before entering a new vial for the first time. In the rare instance where you have COVID-19 vaccine that will expire and you have no one in the current priority groups to be vaccinated, you can use your clinical judgement to administer the vaccine to a person in another priority group who is closest to the current priority group being targeted for vaccination to avoid vaccine waste. It is important that you also ensure that this individual is now included in your reminder recall systems for the 2nd dose.Massachusetts DPH– COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions – Vaccine Providers