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Botox specialists trained to 'draw up everything' are being used to get extra doses of COVID-19 vaccine per vial

The StarMed chief medical officer said Botox specialists are trained to get every drop out of the vial because of the high cost of the product.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With the need for vaccines still incredibly high, there’s a unique effort putting cosmetic nurses into the fight against COVID-19. A Charlotte vaccine provider, StarMed, is tapping into the skills of Botox specialists.  

The StarMed chief medical officer said Botox specialists are trained to get every drop out of the vial because of the high cost of the product. StarMed tells WCNC Charlotte they’ve been able to increase the number of vaccine doses per vial since using the cosmetic nurses.

StarMed said it started as a pilot program in Eastern North Carolina to see how successful the Botox specialists would be, and now the company wants to expand to vaccine clinics around the state.

When StarMed opened a recent vaccine clinic in Jacksonville, North Carolina, they canceled a full day of appointments at the MedSpa.  

Botox specialist Bobbi Cohen traded one shot for another.

“It was an easy transition,” Cohen said. “They needed people to draw up vaccines.”

It may not seem like COVID-19 vaccinations and cosmetic work have a lot in common, but Cohen said her aesthetic schooling taught her a relevant skill: not to waste a single drop of Botox, which is charged per unit.

“We were taught to make sure we draw up everything pretty accurate because if not, you’re wasting money,” Cohen said. “With COVID vaccines it’s almost the same, you want to make sure you’re getting everything out of it.”

“Each dose of Botox matters and with vaccines, it matters even more,” Dr. Arin Piramzadian, chief medical officer for StarMed, said.

Dr. Piramzadian said since Botox specialists joined the effort, they’ve increased the number of extra shots of the Moderna vaccine, which is supposed to have at least 10 doses per vial.

“We get a consistent 10% increase in the amount of doses that we do have,” Dr. Piramzadian said.

“We are able to get 11 doses, sometimes 12 out of each vial,” said Cohen.

Dr. Piramzadian said they now want to expand their effort from Eastern North Carolina to Mecklenburg County and beyond.

“We are looking to hire, specifically again, Botox nurses in this area, since we saw it worked so well in Jacksonville,” Dr. Piramzadian said.

For Cohen, who used to be an E.R. nurse, it’s another shot to save lives.

“Going back to something that’s helping so many people -- it is pretty good, I like it,” said Cohen.

StarMed said their next vaccine clinic in Jacksonville is on Thursday, and their Botox specialists will get back to work vaccinating people.