Extreme winter weather causes delays in COVID-19 vaccine shipments

Winter weather vaccines
Posted at 6:10 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 19:10:55-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Extreme winter weather is causing some delays in COVID-19 vaccine shipments.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the U.S. government is projecting widespread delays in shipments over the next few days.

Officials at the University of Kansas Health System are seeing the effects firsthand.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention control, said the hospital is currently waiting on shipments that were supposed to arrive earlier in the week.

"We'll be waiting for them today and certainly working with Wyandotte (County) and Johnson County to be able to get those allocations and give those vaccines as we're supposed to," Hawkinson said.

The CDC said weather is expected to continue to impact shipments out of FedEx and UPS hubs that serve multiple states.

The winter weather also is causing the cancellations of some clinics. Missouri announced Monday that all mass vaccine clinics put on by the Missouri National Guard are canceled this week.

Dr. Steven Stites, chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Health System, said there's no need to worry if an appointment for a second dose was canceled.

"As long as you get that sometime in the next month, you're going to be just fine," Stites said. "You're going to get a great immune response and the only thing you have to worry about is that it's that much longer until you get full immunity."

As some Missourians have to wait a little longer to get their first or second doses, others are still trying to get an appointment, like 66-year-old Independence resident Donna Kennedy.

Kennedy said she's registered herself, her mother and her husband on every vaccine interest form she can think of. All three of them are in Missouri's current eligible tier, but she hasn't been contacted yet.

"It's all the time you spend trying to do the right thing, you know, you're doing all the registration and you're doing the right thing," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said it's tough to hear about others getting the vaccine when her and her loved ones are still waiting.

"I'm happy for them because I think anybody who wants to have one should be able to get one, and it's like, well, I must not be that lucky like some of my friends," Kennedy said. "I'm going to keep trying because it's important. I think everybody should get the shot."

When asked what people in Kennedy's situation should do, Lisa Cox, spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said in an email the agency advises people who are eligible to sign up in any way they can but to only accept one appointment.

Cox said it comes down to a supply-and-demand issue.

"The supply is still so limited that the demand is currently many times greater than available supply. Everyone who wants one will get one in due time, but we will have to be patient," Cox said. "Most importantly, we all need to honor the priority system and not jump in line in front of many others who may need it more, sooner."