Commonwealth Is Asking Public to Cancel Duplicate Appointments, Help Ensure Vaccine Availability

COVID-19 vaccineCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam is urging all Pennsylvanians to remember to both attend a scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointment and cancel any unneeded appointments so that all vaccine doses get into the arms of people.

“All three available vaccines are safe and effective, and we need folks to get the first available vaccine,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “If you have scheduled appointments at numerous places as part of your attempt to get vaccinated, please remember to call those other locations and cancel the remaining appointments. You can let them know that you have been vaccinated.

“Each time someone is a no-show for an appointment, it increases the chances of a dose of vaccine being wasted if the appointment cannot be refilled by someone else who has not yet been vaccinated.”

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There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines available, Janssen, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. All three vaccines are safe and effective at preventing hospitalizations, serious illness and death. It is important that Pennsylvanians take the first vaccine available to help quickly and efficiently vaccinate as many people as possible.

Vaccine providers work to ensure vaccine is ready for each appointment made. When someone does not show up for an appointment, their dose has already been removed from the storage requirements and often has to be used that day.

Previously, vaccine providers who had leftover doses for individuals who did not show up for their scheduled appointment called others who were on waiting lists. However, many vaccine providers have exhausted waiting lists.

When an individual receives their first dose (or single dose) of vaccine, it is important to call other locations where they may have also scheduled an appointment. This will not only prevent waste, but also allows that appointment slot to be opened to someone who still needs to be vaccinated.

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Vaccine dose waste is very low – less than one-tenth of one percentage point and missed appointments are thought to be a cause of some waste, not to mention that an unfilled appointment means one less person getting vaccinated in a timely manner.

“Throughout this pandemic, Pennsylvanians have shown their commitment to working together,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “As we work to vaccinate all those who wish to be vaccinated, we ask people to give a courtesy call to cancel unneeded appointments with other providers with whom they previously scheduled appointments. This will allow us to ensure that each shot is put into the arm of a person.”

It is also important that people visit their vaccine provider for their second dose. Providers are working to schedule second dose appointments at the time of first dose appointment or immediately after first doses are received.

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