By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This week, your pharmacy could be able to give you a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Walmart and Thrifty White will administer 16,000 doses to Minnesotans 65 and older. Gov. Tim Walz reallocated 8,000 doses for Walgreens to do the same.

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In rare cases, doses of the vaccine go to waste. To avoid it from happening, the Minnesota Department of Health says vaccinators have “hot lists” of people who can be called in at the last minute. The lists are provided by schools.

Emily Wolyniec, a teacher in a Brooklyn Center school district, was the lucky recipient of a leftover dose Saturday night, but it didn’t come without stress.

“I was just really upset at like how chaotic it was,” Wolyniec said.

She got an email from the district at 10:30 p.m. that said, “You have been selected to schedule an appointment tonight for the COVID-19 vaccine. There are vaccination appointments available immediately at the convention center in Minneapolis.”

(credit: CBS)

“I was like, ‘I feel like I just have to drive down there right now,’ because I don’t, it didn’t tell me anything else,” Wolyniec said.

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The doors were locked, but after a few phone calls, she finally got in. Wolyniec says a nurse told her there were leftover doses they didn’t want to go to waste.

“She said to me while I was sitting there … ‘We’re going to be here until we run out, so like if you want to tell people that we have extra doses, like we want people to come and get them,'” Wolyniec said.

Her partner was able to come in from the car and take advantage. She called other family and friends, too, but the extras were gone by the time they arrived.

Of more than half a million doses given out in Minnesota, the state says 145 have gone to waste as of Thursday. Some of the reasons include vials or syringes being broken or lost, and others just didn’t get administered in time.

Wolyniec says she wasn’t even aware she was on any kind of “hot list.”

“It’s a big relief to be starting the vaccination process like before my school district talks about going back in person,” she said.

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It could be worth asking pharmacies who are administering the doses to see if they happen to have any leftovers that day.

David Schuman