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Doctors detail impacts of delayed vaccine shipments, seek answers

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine vial
Posted at 9:52 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 23:44:35-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas and Missouri state leaders learned Thursday they’ll receive fewer Pfizer vaccine doses than originally planned in the next shipment.

"I still don't have the answer as to why and I think that why matters," Dr. Rex Archer, Kansas City Missouri’s Health Director said.

Rex said the delay in shipments will have a trickle down effect, impacting those working and living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

"It also impacts the hospitals because a lot of the workers are getting the disease out in the community and then they can't work and staff the beds in the hospitals,” Archer said. “So people that have a car crash or have a heart attack that has nothing to do with COVID may not get an ICU bed because there's no staff there to staff the ICU."

41 Action News reached out to Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services for answers and was given this statement:

"We are working with our federal partners to better understand the adjustments and to adapt our planning to changes. This is all very fluid."
Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services

Meanwhile in Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly says she has ‘little concern' over receiving less doses.

"I heard this morning that the reason that this is being done is that they needed to smooth out the quantity of deliveries," Kelly said. "That if they had delivered as many as they had proposed to deliver next week then they weren't going to have enough for people to get their second dose."

In its most recent statement since the new broke, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told NBC news:

"There was some confusion between planning and training numbers provided in mid-November and actual official weekly allocations, which are only locked in the week prior to distribution because they are based on the number of releasable vaccine doses available. We are working on clearing up any misunderstanding with the governors and jurisdictions."
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Dr. Archer estimates it will be at least May before reductions in some of the restrictions on businesses.