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Vaccines being wasted at HEB not the grocer's fault; here's why

Posted at 8:57 AM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 12:41:04-04

First came the mad rush to get vaccinated and now this week, reports of Walgreens and CVS wasting tens of thousands of shots.

Those two major pharmacies are not alone.

HEB tells 25 News they are wasting Coronavirus vaccines too because not enough people are going to the grocery store to get vaccinated.

The problem is the vaccines have an expiration date.

It's true one-stop shopping.

You can pick up your groceries and get your coronavirus vaccine, a convenience HEB pharmacist Dale Williams says more than 600,000 people have taken advantage of.

"We've got some good momentum going," Williams says.

Waco stores alone are averaging 200 shots per day.

In addition to the Pfizer vaccine, on April 26, the grocer brought back the Johnson and Johnson one-shot after the FDA lifted the nationwide pause.

At first, appointments were booked steady but that's changing.

"We are seeing that we are wasting a few shots," Williams confirms, adding there are two reasons for that.

First, people are booking appointments and not showing up.

Second, Pfizer's shelf life.

"It requires a very specific cold storage and after a few weeks it expires and we're losing a few and we don't want to do that. We want to get these in the arms of Texans and make sure they're vaccinated," Williams says.

Many people are asking 'do you have to pay to get the shot?'

"There will never be a charge," Williams promises. "We'll find a way to make it free to the customer."

HEB still requires employees to wear their masks in stores while highly recommending customers do the same.

"We're offering masks at the door but of course we're not going to enforce that on anybody," Williams says. "We're kind of at a breaking point in Texas, in Waco, where we can see less and less cases. So, we don't want to lose that momentum and we want to keep Texans safe."

You can make an appointment on the HEB website.

The grocery chain is also accepting walk-ins Monday through Friday from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.