LOS ANGELES - It's a term you may have recently heard. "Vaccine chasers" are lining up at clinics and hospitals in hopes of securing a leftover dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
"I'm not interested in cutting in line or cheating in any way," explained one of the people spotted waiting in line. "I'm interested in catching what would otherwise go to waste."
Like so many other Angelenos, this South LA resident desperately wants a COVID-19 vaccine but isn't yet eligible. He tells FOX 11 he's been to the Kedren Community Health Center in South LA every day for three days in hopes of getting the extra dose.
"I've just been scoping it out and trying to figure out how to angle in," he said.
Another person spotted waiting in line said Thursday was her first shot at waiting for a COVID-19 shot without being in an eligible category.
"This is my first time," the South Bay woman said. "I'm not like some veteran vaccine chasers. I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm just doing this based on hearsay... what I understand is that if there are vaccine [doses] at the end of the day that would otherwise to unused, then I would love to have that."
She also clarified that those 65 and over and frontline workers should "absolutely" be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine before anyone else.
Throughout the day, hospital employees walked up and down the line of "vaccine chasers" asking for people who may fit categories like healthcare workers or teachers. On the other end of the street, people without appointments -- but were among the eligible categories -- were able to file through more quickly.
Robert Teller and Emija Goldsmith are both in the 65-and-older category, but both told FOX 11 it was nearly impossible for them to secure a vaccine near their Balboa Island home.
"I tried on my phone," Goldsmith explained. "I spent maybe two, three days trying to get an appointment. Each time I waited four to five hours, they told me there’s no more appointment today... I gave up, and one of my friends told me you can just go there and get it at Kedren. So we took a chance."
They say they’ll happily make the trek again for their second dose.
"I feel fantastic," Goldsmith said.
Not everyone is happy about these lines for the extra doses. Nurse Jamie Reyes got her first Moderna dose easily, but couldn't find a place to secure a second.
"Right now, you've got everybody scrambling. You've got everyone panicking because no one wants this. No one wants to die from COVID," Reyes said. "We're desperate. We don't want to go a whole month and then start over with these shots."
Reyes, a nurse in Long Beach, suggests clinics and hospitals should open the tiers but have them open separately.
"Healthcare workers here, 65-and-over here," Reyes said.