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Extra COVID Vaccine Doses Given To People Without Appointments In Danvers

DANVERS (CBS) - A crowd of people waited in the cold outside the Danvers mass vaccination site Wednesday evening after word spread about extra vaccines that would be tossed out if they were not used. Some of the people who received the vaccine did not have an appointment and were not eligible under the state's plan.

"My spouse is here with my mother-in-law and they had an appointment today and she called me about half an hour ago and said they've got leftover vaccines get down here as fast as you can," said Amanda Venezia, who received the vaccine.

It's a call many people in the long line outside the DoubleTree hotel received.

"My boyfriend's sister called saying that they had an extra 280 vaccines and to come," said Megan Iajala.

All afternoon, there was confusion about the possibility of extra doses here after word spread on social media. Many were turned away.

Phase 2 of the state's vaccine plan got underway February 1 with shots prioritized for residents 75 and older. Once that group is vaccinated, people over 65 are also eligible.

A Massachusetts Department of Health 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."

"But that's not what we were hearing from folks who knew people inside," 34-year-old Elizabeth Brenner said.

Brenner 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.

By 7:30 p.m., the line was wrapped around the building.

Forty-six-year-old Jon Shumam rushed over in gym shorts when he got a call from a friend. "I heard there was extra doses and we live about 2/10 of a mile down the street and got off the Peloton and came straight here," Shumam said.

Within an hour, he got vaccinated. "We walked right in, there was no line outside at all, we walked straight in," Shumam said. "It's better to be lucky than good."

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has not commented on the situation in Danvers Wednesday night, but it would fit with the latest guidance to not let vaccines go to waste.

Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to find out when you're eligible and to book an appointment.

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