WDKY was able to confirm with a Walgreens employee that they did have available doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. She told us they did give the vaccine out to members of the public and she said they gave out so many, they actually ran out of the ones they had available.
“What we don’t want to see right now with this vaccine is any waste,” said Emergency Physician Dr. Ryan Stanton, describing how complicated it is to store the vaccines.
Logistically, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are more challenging than any vaccines healthcare workers have dealt with previously. The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at negative 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The Moderna stored at five-degree Fahrenheit. Even more challenging:
“Once it is thawed, it has to be used in about a 12-hour window. So once it’s thawed, it has to be used. And these are multi dose vials,” said Dr. Stanton.
Dr. Stanton said it takes a lot of planning to make sure only the doses that need to be used are thawed, saying these are doses going to healthcare workers, higher risk population and those 65 and older.
Which had many questioning on social media, why the general public seemed to be getting the vaccine at the Lane Allen Walgreens in Lexington Friday. A worker confirmed they did have the vaccine and they did give it to the public, but we aren’t sure why or who got it exactly.
“The take home point is we’re about to see this vaccine available to people outside the healthcare setting. The challenge being it is very difficult to store this vaccine, so planning is very important to make sure it’s used and not wasted.”
Normally, Dr. Stanton said distributions at CVS and Walgreens Pharmacies would be determined by CDC recommendations and state leaders.
WDKY did reach out the Governor’s office. A spokesperson told us “they’re looking into this now.”
We also reached out to Walgreens Corporate and the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department for a comment. We have not heard back from either.