Push To Vaccinate; Local Pharmacies Say Thousands of Vaccines Could Expire

Nico Payne

Across the country, the pace of vaccinations has slowed recently. In the Coachella Valley officials are seeing those same effects as local pharmacies report they have too much supply, and not enough demand, and there’s a risk doses could expire.

“We have about 1,000 doses of the Pfizer biotech vaccine and a little over 500 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” said Leif Dela Luna, Pharmacist with Coachella Valley Pharmacy.

Riverside County has vaccinated just over 2 million people, but there is still a strong push to get more vaccinated as many doses are set to expire at the end of June.

“It’s not really a Coachella Valley issue or riverside county issue, it’s a national issue that’s coming up, it’s statewide, that you have quite a number of vaccines that are not being used at the same rate you were only a few months ago,” said Jose Arballo Jr. Senior Public Information Specialist with Riverside County.

Local pharmacists want to remind everyone that even though the state is opening up, there is still a risk if you’re unvaccinated. 

“Always remember the virus does not fly on its own, it doesn’t have wings, it gets transmitted through people. When people have the vaccine in them they are less likely to acquire it and less likely to transmit it,” explained Dela Luna.

Pharmacies do try and to reallocate vaccines to prevent them from expiring

“If a pharmacy reaches out to us under the same supplier, and are requesting more doses of the vaccine, we are more than happy to relocate it to them if they need it,” said Dela Luna.

And with the recent announcements of cash prizes and free beer as vaccine incentives, they hope to see more people stopping by.

“The NBA, the NHL, Nascar, Nascar Tracks, they’re offering vaccines, vaccines outside playoff games and races. Major League Baseball will be offering free tickets to people, to get vaccinated at the ballpark,” said President Joe Biden.

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