PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - This week began with major concern that Maricopa County had wasted hundreds of doses of vaccines.
That then turned into finger-pointing back and forth between the governor and the county. That led many to ask is there a solution for the vaccines that go to waste in Maricopa county and at state-run facilities?
The answer is maybe, but will the county or state consider it?
Other states have turned to "standby lists" to help mitigate their problems, and now local advocates and doctors are calling for the same thing in Arizona.
The concept is simple: people put their names on a list and at the end of the day, if there are extra vaccines left, people can be called quickly to the site so that the doses are used and not thrown out. But right now, it's a concept Arizona isn't considering yet.
After hearing Maricopa County had more than 550 vaccines go to waste, recent Arizona State University grad Sukhmani Singh created a website, "novaccineswasted.com," Tuesday night.
According to information obtained through a public records request, 553 doses of the vaccine were wasted at Maricopa County Department of Public Health's five distribution sites between Dec. 17 and Jan. 20.
"People are concerned that any vaccines are being thrown away, people are concerned that we didn't already have a general population standby list," Singh said. "It seems like such an obvious step to take."
She's hoping to compile a list of names of people who would be willing to get to a vaccination site fast, if called, to get the vaccine rather than it being thrown out.
"I think that it will signal Maricopa County and maybe other counties in Arizona that this is something legitimate they should start utilizing," she said.
Several other states already have standby lists to minimize unused vaccines, including Texas, Colorado, New York and Tennessee.
Nashville Health tweets every day about their standby lists, letting people know how many people out their name on the standby list and of those, how many actually got the vaccine.
Maricopa County said it's using most of the vaccines it has, but said wasted vaccines are to be expected.
"We're at 0.3% waste right now, and I looked at Texas data and they were at about .06% waste across Texas, so they're actually doing five times better than us," said Dr. Paul Lynch, CEO of Arizona Pain.
When we asked Maricopa County officials if they'd consider a standby list, they said, "Due to the fact that there are thousands of people who are currently eligible and waiting for doses, we are continuing to emphasize this operational plan so that the doses we have are given to those who are currently eligible and at highest risk."
If she'd waited to get vaccinated until it was her "tier's" turn, Isabela Medina wouldn't have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine until late summer.
Arizona's Family also asked the Arizona officials on Tuesday how many doses they've had to throw out and asked them Wednesday if they'd consider a standby list to minimize waste, but they haven't responded to either question.