Pharmacies and health officials are making a plea to Americans who received their Covid-19 vaccines: Cancel the other shots you booked.
As vaccine eligibility expands and more places offer shots, many people are signing up for multiple appointments and not backing out of the ones they don’t need. The resulting influx of no-shows is forcing vaccine providers, from pharmacies to community clinics, to find last-minute replacements so doses aren’t wasted.
In North Carolina, a county health director has been going door-to-door to find takers for missed slots. A Midwest retailer shut down its wait list and tasked employees with weeding out people who made multiple appointments. On social media, it is increasingly common to see posts from health departments offering shots to anyone who can show up at a vaccine site.
“It creates a mad dash at the end of the day,” said Raynard Washington, deputy health director of Mecklenburg County Health Department in North Carolina. As many as 10% of people don’t show up at vaccination sites run by the county—or hundreds of doses a week—partly because they don’t cancel multiple appointments.
Appointments remain tough to score in many parts of the country even though the overall supply of vaccines and the pace of inoculation are improving. Some people are making multiple bookings in hopes of getting vaccinated sooner or sometimes because they don’t receive or see confirmation emails, according to pharmacies and community vaccination sites. Others receive shots at pop-up vaccination events before scheduled appointments and don’t notify providers.