1st dose of covid vax from provider which closed, how to get dose 2?
April 2, 2021 12:05 PM   Subscribe

My parents (ages 80 and 75) received their first Covid vaccinations at Innovative Express Care in Chicago. Unfortunately, Innovative was allegedly mis-allocating their vaccine doses and the City cut off their supply. They have attempted to make appointments elsewhere and every provider is telling them that they only provide second doses to patients who received their first dose from the same location! Aside from telling them to lie and just get a second "first dose" (of the same vaccine type) I don't know how to help them. They have taken their appeals to the manager at multiple places now to no avail. Any ideas?

I can see how this scenario is unusual, but it can't be THAT unusual. People move out of state, care centers close, etc.

Also, my dad in a fit of pique at being turned down told the nurses "I knew we should have lied and just said this was our first dose." The nurses claimed that they had some way of knowing. Is that so?
posted by Larry David Syndrome to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This sucks and I don't have Illinois specific answers for you but two things: here in NC they have me in a database as having received my first dose, plus your parents might need the vaccination card filled out to do things in the future, so if they manage to get their second dose by lying it might turn into a hassle because they'll have to come clean right after. Even though I agree this is awful and they need it!! Other point: I have been using getmyvaccine.org which aggregates appointments at pharmacy chains nearby to help you schedule a dose. I think CVS or Walgreens in NC specifically lets you schedule JUST a second dose. So the chains might be more forgiving. Hope that someone else has more specific Chicago info.
posted by clarinet at 12:11 PM on April 2, 2021

Other thought: I would try calling their city officials? I wonder if they could help grease some wheels or point them to where to go. Like you said, it can't be just them.
posted by clarinet at 12:14 PM on April 2, 2021 [7 favorites]

Have they contacted Innovative Express Care to ask them what to do? That seems like the first step. (The article I read said that Innovative Express Care is no longer going to be providing any first doses, which made me think they might still be doing second doses for people who have received their first.) If that doesn't work, I would try the Chicago Department of Public Health, and if that doesn't work try their alderman. This is the kind of situation that constituent services was made for.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:14 PM on April 2, 2021 [11 favorites]

Are your parents in an area with CVS or Walgreens? In my state, one can schedule second-dose only appointments there.
posted by amarynth at 12:19 PM on April 2, 2021 [8 favorites]

In my local area, the answer is to contact the original provider -- when they "cut off" someone around here they only cut off access to first doses. The provider is still given sufficient doses to finish off any preexisting client that's had the first shot already.
posted by aramaic at 12:29 PM on April 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry your parents have having so much trouble with this! You're right, this scenario isn't THAT unusual--I know lots of people who have had to do this, some even in different states, and so far all of them have been successful. If they haven't talked to their own doctor about this yet, that might be a good place to start. Otherwise, getting just their second dose should be achievable through a pharmacy like Walgreens, CVS or Walmart in Illinois. I like this site because it allows you to search by vaccine brand so you can make sure you get an appointment for the correct vaccine. If you have a car and can get them out of Chicago proper, you might have better luck.
posted by mjcon at 1:04 PM on April 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Something similar happened to me (the provider where I scheduled my 1st shot just like, abdicated their responsibility for second shots), and I was able to schedule my 2nd dose at CVS. The first question their website asked was "is this for a 1st or 2nd dose", and I was able to just go in and schedule the second dose only. So that's a first step to try, if you haven't already.

Seconding the suggestion for them to call their alderman -- I volunteer for my alderman's office and we get soooo many calls about vaccines that we have folks who are assigned to help people sort out their vax problems.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 1:07 PM on April 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Not to threadsit, but the original provider cancelled my parents standing second appointment and definitely will not be providing doses to anyone going forward. They were shut down hard, I think they had to turn their remaining supply in.

We do have CVS and Walgreens here, will investigate that. Will also try the Dept of Public Health. To clarify, my parents aren't Chicago residents, and they are also outside of Cook County. (Western suburbs) They just went to the city as that was the only place they could find openings at the time.

Thanks to everyone for your ideas!
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 1:10 PM on April 2, 2021

I found this website at CVS for people who only need to schedule a second dose.

If they're willing to travel to Iowa, I know all of the resources here for finding vaccine appointments and can definitely help. But I bet they can find one closer to home.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:17 PM on April 2, 2021

Huh. That didn't seem to work! I got there through the "Note: If you only need to schedule a second dose because you've already received the first dose, we can help you complete your vaccine" link here: https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:20 PM on April 2, 2021 [4 favorites]

Try checking with the Chicago Department of Public Health; they are supposed to be contacting people (including non-CPS teachers) whose second dose was canceled and offering them vaccines at Truman College instead. Here's one of the news stories about it.

If Truman College isn't taking appointments for people outside of Chicago, you might also try the Cook County Department of Public Health; their sites are taking appointments through 1c and require only state residency: vaccine.cookcountyil.gov

Good luck!
posted by sencha at 2:05 PM on April 2, 2021 [6 favorites]

They will probably do best going to a big vaccination site outside of Chicago. They could travel to Quincy's mega site or Hoopeston. They will need to take their vaccination card with the first vaccine recorded. There are appointments available now.

And not to put too fine a point on it, but if your folks live outside of Chicago, those vaccinations from Innovative Express Care in Chicago were not supposed to be available to them. The vaccinations in Illinois are being divided up into regions based on what public health department is responsible and need. IEC got their vaccines from the Chicago Public Health Department - those were vaccines reserved for people who live in Chicago especially teachers. The big vaccination sites listed above can cover anyone in Illinois as they are run by the Illinois Dept of Public Health. Your parents may not have known that, BUT that is why IEC cannot see them again and why the Chicago Dept of Public Health is unlikely to help them either.
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 2:12 PM on April 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

For what it’s worth, I got vaccinated at a Walgreens yesterday and the person about to give me the injection asked if it was my first dose or my second.

I have noticed that while there have been zero appointments available there during the hours that normal people are awake, when I was browsing at 5am there were a lot of appointments available for 48 hours out. YMMV.

This also seems like something the “vaccine hunters” facebook groups could help with—I know a friend who does this in MD was excited about how they’d found a second appointment for someone who had a change in circumstances and needed to get his second shot someplace very close to his home.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:51 PM on April 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

needs more cowbell is totally right about the Chicago Vaccine Hunters FB – go here, request access, post about your parents' situation, and you will have multiple people offering to hook them up. If you don't have a Facebook account it's legitimately worth making a one-off just for this. Alternatively, and this is coming from someone with a native Chicagoan's tolerance for some light scamming so you can take it or leave it, you really would be just fine booking a single shot wherever, it's the exact same shot for both doses.
posted by katiec at 3:31 PM on April 2, 2021 [6 favorites]

Have they contacted their regular primary care doctor? I spent waaaay to much time trying to hunt down appointments in Chicago and Illinois at large... until I realized I could just make an appointment the same week with my doctor. I felt a bit dumb for not having thought of that in the first place!

Otherwise they should be able to make an appointment at the United Center in Chicago, which is now accepting people from the Chicago Suburbs.
posted by EllaEm at 4:54 PM on April 2, 2021

If all else fails, they might contact the constituent services person at their congressperson's, state senator's, or state representative's office.
posted by DrGail at 5:03 PM on April 2, 2021

Can you try an independent pharmacy that is authorized to give the shots? I'm a volunteer vaccinator at an independent pharmacy, and there is much less red tape. They tend to set up their own sign-up systems on line, and may not be (probably are not) connected with or coordinated with the larger city or federal systems; thus their sign-ups don't interact with independents. I've given several second shots for people who received their first shots elsewhere. A friend just contacted me, knowing I vaccinate, to arrange for a second shot for her father-in-law. Unfortunately, it does make the process more difficult, as it takes you out of the mainstream and into the cul de sacs of independent providers.

I would suggest speaking directly with a staff member of the pharmacy to organize this, and be sure to bring the CDC vaccine cards your parents received - this verifies which vaccine they got.
posted by citygirl at 5:43 PM on April 2, 2021

Just call the County Health Depart Covid office at 1-833-308-1988, Monday through Friday, 7am to 7pm. When they close a site they anticipate this exact issue, you may get a special code for online sign up or they might just schedule right there on the phone.
posted by zenon at 6:41 PM on April 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Try the manufacturer's customer service line.

I had a similar issue and was striking out in all my varied, repeated, and ostensibly thorough attempts at securing a second shot appointment. Finally, I contacted Moderna Customer Service. To my great surprise, they had county health phone numbers I wasn't able to find anywhere else. They provided several numbers for me to call, but I only called one and was able to secure an appointment for the next day.
posted by shocks connery at 5:36 AM on April 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: My folks were able to register for the Truman College vax event (this was the recommended site for people who were caught up in the Innovative Express Care shutdown, but it was also supposedly restricted to Chicago residents, although there was some language in the documentation about referrals, and they were referred by Innovative, so who knows?) Evidently no one even asked them for ID/ proof of address, they just had to provide their vax cards. I'm happy to report they're all set! Also, props to katiec for introducing the phrase "a native Chicagoan's tolerance for some light scamming" into my lexicon.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 5:12 PM on April 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

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