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Vaccine hunting: This website wants to make sure COVID-19 shots don’t go to waste

A detail of the arm while inoculating the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a doctor in an outpatient clinic. (Getty Images)

Unprecedented times have given birth to an unprecedented hunting season.

But instead of a type of animal, much of the hunting now has to do with finding COVID-19 vaccines before they are considered useless.

In the initial phase of the vaccine rollout, it’s been common for some amounts to be thrown away because they either expired or weren’t stored correctly.

That has led to the creation of a “vaccine hunter” website to help people get their hands on doses before they are ruined. The site, vaccinehunter.org, is dedicated to providing the public with information about distribution sites that might have expiring doses.

By aggregating social media groups in states and cities across the country, the site hopes to help distribute and crowdsource information about vaccines that are unused and about to expire.

Shots can last for six months as long as the Pfizer-BioNTech one is stored at minus-70 degrees Celsius and the Modern vaccine is stored at minus-20 degrees Celsius, according to Newsweek.

But that window of use gets much shorter once vaccines have been defrosted in preparation for use.

And they can’t be refrozen.

“Really, the goal is to find these points where we have these leftover vaccines -- where somebody didn’t show up to their appointment, they have vaccines leftover that can’t be re-introduced into the cold, and need to be put in someone’s arm,” said Doug Ward, who started the website, to WAFB.

Under the section of the site called “Hunting Tips,” the site points out: “These are just suggestions, and there is no guaranteed way to find soon-to-expire vaccines. Please make sure to respect others when searching.”

Check out the page’s FAQs to learn more.

Is this a site you would use to try and find a vaccine dose? Let us know in the comments below.


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