Publix says leftover COVID-19 vaccine doses are going to employees

Grocery chain makes sure shots don’t go to waste

Publix delays vaccine appointment portal reopening as snowstorm affects supply

ORLANDO, Fla. – When and if there are leftover COVID-19 vaccine shots at Publix stores come the end of the day, those doses are given to employees rather than being thrown out.

“Our goal is to administer 100% of the vaccines we receive and have a process in place to administer vaccines to our eligible associates whenever possible, if there are additional doses remaining in a vial at the end of the night,” a Publix spokeswoman said Thursday.

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Across the state and country, vaccine hunters have been calling up pharmacies and other vaccination locations hoping to score shots that went unused so they don’t go to waste.

Sam Torres, 36, of Orlando, said he had luck at a Walmart in Oviedo. He called and asked to be added to the waitlist and was invited to come back that same day.

“I was just done telling my boss I signed my name to this post so I may have to leave at any moment, and it was two and half hours later I get a phone call and had to leave,” Torres said.

Select Publix pharmacy locations first began offering the vaccine in January, providing more access to seniors who may not be able to travel to mass vaccination sites. The program has since expanded and all 730 Publix pharmacy stores are providing hundreds of shots per day.

Appointments are required and the portal opens here each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7 a.m. Teachers and other child care workers are being prioritized.

The company expected to provide its one millionth dose in Florida on Thursday.

“When Publix was approached to assist in administering these life-saving vaccines, we didn’t hesitate to say ‘Yes’ because we believe it is a privilege to care for our communities during a time of need,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “I’m extremely proud of our pharmacy, store and support teams for their hard work over the past 10 weeks. Their dedication and commitment to service have played a large part in the success of our efforts.”

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