More than 1,000 doses of Pfizer'svaccine are set to expire in Philadelphia on Thursday. If they remain unclaimed by the end of the day, they will no longer be viable and go to waste, according to local health officials.
The Pennsylvania Convention Center has roughly 1,3000 doses on hand, but no takers for the inoculations asin Philadelphia and other cities across the U.S.
Health officials in Philadelphia are encouraging unvaccinated members of the public to walk in and roll up their sleeves — no appointment needed.
"We have a lot of vaccines in cold storage that do have to get used in a very short timeline, so we just encourage everyone to come out and get your vaccines. Lots of opportunities for walkups," FEMA external affairs officer Charlie Elison told CBSN.
Anyone who is 16 and older and lives or works in Philadelphia is eligible for a dose. Roughly 30% of Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, while 43% have received at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaccine hesitancy remains a barrier to achieving so-called herd immunity in the U.S., with roughly one in five Americans saying they won't get the vaccine and another 18% saying they might,. Overall, six in 10 Americans indicate a willingness to get vaccinated or report having received at least one dose.
Of those with concerns about getting inoculated, commonly cited reasons include that the vaccine remains untested in the real world, concern about potential side effects or distrust in the U.S. government.
Dr. Ron Elfenbein, medical director and owner of First Call Medical Center in Maryland, called such vaccine hesitancy "concerning." More than 5 million Americans also missed their crucial second doses of the two-shot Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
"I think it lends a false sense of security to people, and really all that does is further undermine our efforts to get people vaccinated and reach herd immunity," Dr. Elfenbein said.
Skipping a second vaccine dose could even lead to a rise in new strains of the virus, according to Elfenbein. "It is imperative that people get their second shot. Absolutely, 100 percent."