DC man goes to Giant to shop, gets COVID-19 vaccine

A D.C. law student was in the right place at the right time on New Year's day to benefit from a directive from D.C. Health to use up any remaining COVID-19 vaccine doses before being forced to throw it away.

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David MacMillan says he went to the Brentwood Giant to shop, when a pharmacist asked him if he'd like the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. She explained that first responders who had signed up to be vaccinated missed their appointments, leaving extra doses which would otherwise need to be discarded.

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"We were just getting groceries and she said, hey I've got these extra doses of the Moderna vaccine and 'would you guys like to get vaccinated?'" MacMillan recalled.

"I'm excited that I have it. Obviously I'm still wearing a mask, I'm still distancing at least until I get the second dose and probably a little bit after that, but I'm excited that I've got some protection," he said.

Once a vial of vaccine is punctured, health officials say it can't be out for more than a few hours and it can not be put into the refigerator again.

RELATED: MD health leaders warn against premature vaccine appointments

D.C. Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt says D.C. Health has advised vaccinators to use every available dose and in some cases that may mean people outside of the current phase of vaccinations will get lucky.

"Our goal is to have minimal wasteage of vaccine and if there are people who are available at the end of the day to be vaccinated then you should vaccinate them. Many of our hospitals and health systems have on call lists of employees who will come in to be vaccinated in order to prevent wastage," Dr. Nesbitt said.

Giant and Safeway told FOX 5 they are following directives by D.C. Health to use any excess doses rather than waste them.

Dr. Nesbitt says D.C. and other states are required to track how many doses of the coronavirus vaccines are wasted, but health officials in D.C., Maryland and Virginia have not provided that information yet.