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Should you take yourself out of line for a COVID-19 vaccine after getting the shot?

If you preregister with multiple vaccinators, you may be invited for a shot you've already gotten

ST. LOUIS — Doctors, nurses and healthcare spokespeople have been saying for weeks to get preregistered on many lists for the COVID-19 vaccine — get your name on the list at every health department, hospital and pharmacy where you’d be willing to go to get the shot.

But once you get an appointment, how can you be sure you aren’t making it more difficult for people at the other vaccinator locations where you’re preregistered? Some tell 5 On Your Side that taking your name off the list isn’t necessary — others say it will help the process move more quickly.

Wherever you’re registered, be sure you only schedule one appointment to avoid doses set aside for you being wasted. No vaccinator location we contacted allows you to “transfer” your vaccination invitation to someone else if you don’t need it anymore.

Here’s what some of the major local vaccinators want you to do if you get your shot elsewhere:

St. Charles County:

“It’s not required, but it helps us a great deal if individuals would let us know that they’ve been vaccinated elsewhere and can be removed from our registry,” said a spokesperson in an email. You can call 636-949-1899 or email pubhealth@sccmo.org, or opt out via the appointment notification system.

St. Louis City:

Remove yourself from the list by emailing health@stlouis-mo.gov or calling 314-657-1499. “By doing so, it enables us to invite those still needing to be vaccinated to future clinics,” said a spokesperson in an email.

Mercy Hospital:

Email communications from the hospital to anyone preregistered include a link to opt out if you wind up getting a shot elsewhere. “If you have scheduled an appointment and no longer need it, there is a cancel button on the confirmation email/text patients will receive the day before their scheduled appointment,” said a spokesperson via email. “We ask them to cancel as we do not allow people to pass appointments along in fairness to others in queue to be contacted when doses are available.”

SSM Hospitals:

You’re asked to contact the hospital to take yourself out of their preregistration system. A spokesperson tells 5 On Your Side they’ve put registrations into subgroups based on risk.

“If we look at a group and it has 200,000 people in it, we work through that list of 200,000 people. But if 100,000 of them already had an appointment elsewhere, and just didn’t remove their name from our list, it delays others from getting an appointment. It’s lost time. It takes time for us to send out the requests, and wait for a response before ultimately finding out they already got it someplace else. Meanwhile, someone else could have gotten an appointment and vaccinated in that time,” she said. “It helps us better plan and prepare for the future, when more vaccine becomes available.”

St. Luke’s Hospital:

If you’re preregistered, you should be receiving regular emails containing a link to “opt out.” “This process helps us have a more accurate assessment of the number of people who still desire to receive the vaccine from our clinic,” said a spokesperson in an email.

BJC, St. Louis County and Jefferson County spokespeople all said that if you don’t need to accept the invitation to be vaccinated there, you can simply ignore it.