California Disney employee brags about getting COVID-19 vaccine early, hospital says leftover doses were given to non-frontline health care workers

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A 33-year-old California woman who works at Disney allegedly jumped the line for the first round of her COVID-19 vaccine through a connection at a local hospital.

The woman, who has not been publicly identified, bragged on Facebook about getting the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the general public, the Orange County Register reported Saturday, when primarily just frontline health care workers and people in long-term care facilities are supposed to be receiving the shot.

“When I woke up this morning, I didn’t think I would be getting the COVID-19 vaccine today. But here we are. I’m so very happy,” the Riverside woman wrote last weekend. “Science is basically my religion, so this was a big deal for me.”

The woman told a Facebook friend that she skipped the waiting period because her husband’s aunt is a “big deal” at Redlands Community Hospital, where they had begun vaccinating employees.

Hospital officials told the Register that they had allotted their vaccines to “frontline physicians, health care workers and support staff per California Department of Public Health guidelines.”

“After physicians and staff who expressed interest in the vaccine were administered, there were several doses left. Because the reconstituted Pfizer vaccine must be used within hours or be disposed of, several doses were administered,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

As Pfizer began shipping out its vaccine earlier this month, pharmacists discovered that some of the vials contained more than the five doses they were supposed to hold. The Food and Drug Administration said in mid-December that the extra doses could be used, possibly expanding the supply by up to 40%.

But because the vaccine has to be administered almost immediately after thawing from its -94 degrees Fahrenheit, doctors administering the doses are typically not able to just save the excess for later.

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