People in a vaccination clinicPhoto: Studio Romantic (Shutterstock)

If you are impatiently waiting for your turn to get a vaccine, you probably already know all the tricks to secure an appointment. (Unless, We have a guide here.) But there is another avenue you can follow: the standby list. Sometimes clinics have extra doses available at the end of the day, and if you’re in the right place at the right time, you might be able to snag one.

Each clinic handles this situation differently and different state laws may apply. So there is no one size fits all solution. However, we can give you some tips including how to sign up for Dr. B., a service that says it will send you a text message if additional doses suddenly become available in your area.

Illustration for article titled How To Get On A Vaccine Standby List

Why are additional doses sometimes available?

All three vaccines come in multi-dose vials, five or six doses per vial. Once a vial is opened, its contents must be used within six hours.

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The vaccines also have limits on the time they can stay at a given temperature: for example, the Moderna vaccine can stay in the refrigerator for 30 days, but you cannot refreeze it to buy more time. In addition, vaccine bottles also have an expiration date.

Vaccination clinics try to schedule their appointments to match the doses available, but sometimes they have to open a vial at the end of the day. On rare occasions, a freezer may fail and staff have to dispense large numbers of doses in a short period of time, e.g. What happened in Seattle with a freezer with 1,600 Moderna cans.

Who can get one of the extra doses?

This depends on state priority groups, as well as state and local regulations. Additional doses are usually given to people who are already high on the priority list. However, in some cases they can be given to anyone.

How do I log on?

There is no organized national or state register (which I could find) to act as a standby list. Clinics often keep their own lists of people to call when additional doses are available, including people who were registered for a vaccine but missed their appointment, as well as clinicians or hospital patients who fall into priority groups.

The health startup Dr. B wants to match people who want vaccines with clinics with extras, despite the New York Times reporting So far they only work with two clinics. The company is committed to connecting people with additional doses nationwide and says 200 clinics have applied to work with them. You appear to be working within each state’s existing priority group so you can’t jump over the line if you’re not already eligible for vaccination.

To sign up, you’ll need to provide personal information to the nonprofit, which, according to the New York Times, has not yet described its business model. While many people will no doubt sign up to try to increase their chances of getting a vaccine sooner, you can just sit and sit as well Sign up for an appointment as soon as you are eligible.