• A California woman reportedly bragged about getting the COVID-19 vaccine early
  • She claimed that her husband's aunt was a "big deal" at Redlands Community Hospital
  • Redlands Community officials confirmed they had extra doses of the vaccine
  • The leftovers had to be used immediately or they would have to be discarded

In the current phase of vaccine distributions, frontline health workers and those in care facilities are prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. So how did a 33-year-old Disney worker in California get vaccinated?

On Saturday, the Orange County Register (The Register) reported about a woman who "bragged" about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in a Facebook post that has since been deleted.

"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 unnamed woman said in the Dec. 20 post, according to the news outlet. "Science is basically my religion, so this was a big deal for me."

When asked how she got vaccinated, she explained that her husband's aunt was a "big deal" at Redlands Community Hospital, which was already vaccinating employees and had extra doses.

In a statement, Redlands Community officials confirmed that they indeed had leftover doses of the Pfizer vaccine after vaccinating the staff. The Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at a freezing -97 degrees Fahrenheit and must be administered quickly otherwise it might end up having to be discarded.

"After physicians and staff who expressed interest in the vaccine were administered, there were several doses left," the statement read, according to the outlet. "Because the reconstituted Pfizer vaccine must be used within hours or be disposed of, several doses were administered to non-front line healthcare workers so that valuable vaccine would not be thrown away."

Sure enough, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had recently suggested making use of all of the possible vaccine doses. The agency released a similar message this week.

"We continue to recommend that in this public health emergency, every full dose from each vial be utilized," the FDA said in a tweet.

The Los Angeles Times cited the California Department of Public Health's guidelines, stating that the vaccine may be given to lower-priority individuals when the demand has eased and the doses are about to expire. It also noted that officials have warned people not to cut in front of those who should really be prioritized for the vaccine.

The recommendation issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities as the priorities under phase 1a of the vaccine distribution, noting limited stocks of the vaccine.

In Phase 1b, people who are 75 years old and above and other frontline essential workers such as firefighters, United States Postal Service workers, grocery store workers and teachers will be next in line for the vaccination. Phase 1c would then include those aged 65 to 74, other essential workers and those aged 16 to 64 years old with underlying medical conditions.

"The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large quantities of vaccine are available," the CDC said. "As vaccine supply increases but remains limited, ACIP will expand the groups recommended for vaccination."

So far, states including California and Connecticut are still in Phase 1a of the vaccine roll-out.

The US has now purchased 400 million Covid-19 vaccine doses -- half from Pfizer and half from Moderna -- allowing it to immunize 200 million people under the two-shot regimen
The US has now purchased 400 million Covid-19 vaccine doses -- half from Pfizer and half from Moderna -- allowing it to immunize 200 million people under the two-shot regimen AFP / JOEL SAGET