Severe winter weather causing delays in COVID-19 vaccine shipments in Virginia, North Carolina

Virus Outbreak Winter Weather
Posted at 4:44 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 16:44:42-05

Both Virginia and North Carolina are seeing delays in this week's COVID-19 vaccine shipments due to severe winter weather in the Mid-Atlantic and around the rest of the United States.

The Virginia Department of Health said the Commonwealth will likely see a delay in the delivery of about 106,800 doses as a result of distribution channels in the Midwest and elsewhere being currently shut down.

Due to weather conditions in Virginia, VDH says multiple vaccination events scheduled for the next few days have already been postponed. If vaccination events are postponed due to weather or shipment delays, providers will reschedule these events and reach out to people with directions about updated appointments.

When the severe weather ends, VDH expects shipments to resume as normal.

The delays affect both the vaccine itself and ancillary supplies that come with each order. The vaccine and ancillary supplies are produced in multiple locations throughout the country using several hub connections to deliver vaccines directly to providers. VDH says 2% of Virginia’s providers are seeing delayed ancillary supply kits.

There also could be additional delays for orders VDH places this week due to severe weather that may cause additional distribution issues. Even if the roads are clear in Virginia, the fulfillment of orders and the movement of these vaccine and ancillary supplies may be delayed in other parts of the country.

VDH is distributing guidance to providers on how to determine the status of their vaccine and ancillary supply orders. VDH also is working closely with federal partners to determine the status of vaccine and ancillary kit orders and next steps to mitigate the delay and impact to Virginians.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services also announced Thursday there have been continued delays in some shipments and deliveries of the vaccine due to the weather.

Both first and second dose shipments have been impacted. NCDHHS says it is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and vaccine providers to help minimize the potential effects of these delays.

At this time, the department says Moderna vaccines have not been shipped this week and only a limited number of Pfizer vaccines have been shipped. Both Pfizer and Moderna have a backlog of orders due to weather.

These delays may cause vaccination appointments to be postponed or rescheduled. Because there is not enough vaccine in the state to shift or transfer supply in order to cover the delayed vaccine doses, DHHS is advising providers to assess current appointments and notify recipients accordingly based on on-hand supplies.

NCDHHS says it has advised providers to anticipate ongoing updates throughout the week as the CDC and Operation Warp Speed continue to monitor adverse weather conditions and vaccine shipments. The department will continue to work with providers to track shipments so that providers can quickly reschedule appointments as necessary.

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