Severe weather causing vaccine shipment delays

SPOKANE, Wash. — The severe weather across the country is having an impact on the supply chain of the COVID-19 vaccine in Spokane.

The weather did not impact the 1,200 people who received their vaccine at the Spokane Arena on Thursday, but those who were originally scheduled to get their first vaccines on Friday and Saturday will now have to wait until next week.  The state originally planned to switch up the schedule for next week, but these weather delays across the mid-west are adding to the workload.

Those scheduled to receive their vaccines on Sunday and Monday were going to be rescheduled to later in the week to begin with.  Now, the Friday and Saturday appointments will be spread out across the week with them.  Next week the Spokane Arena will be used exclusively for second doses already scheduled.

“Next week will just be a busy week trying to pull in some extra staff so we have that extra support, but we’re pretty confident that we can get them all done,” said Shelby Anderson from the State Department of Health.

The vaccines used at the arena are the Moderna brand, which are shipped from Mississippi.  The state says they have not even been delivered yet and remain in a holding pattern.

“At this point we’re just moving forward with receiving vaccine on Monday as we would typically anticipate receiving it and we’ll just have to go from there and make decisions if that changes,” said Anderson.

The supply chain has not just impacted the Spokane area, but the entire state. Secretary of Health Umair Shah says it would have been difficult to have seen these storms having a large impact when the vaccines first started to be distributed.

“We’re always thinking about what’s happening in our region in Washington, but we’re not thinking about what’s happening throughout that supply chain to get vaccines to us. So it’s really critical that we keep this in mind as we continue our work moving forward,” said Shah.

Health officials say the second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. That’s 28 days for the Moderna vaccine, however, it can be administered up to six weeks after the first dose.  The state doesn’t foresee that becoming an issue for those looking to get their second dose soon.

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