About 90% of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine supply for this week got caught in winter weather shipping delays.
SEATTLE — If you have an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine this weekend, you might want to check with your provider and ask if your appointment is still on.
About 90% of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine supply was caught up in winter weather shipping delays in other parts of the country, which resulted in some Washington vaccine clinics and appointments being postponed or canceled this week.
The Virginia Mason clinic at Amazon confirmed with KING 5 they have the number of doses needed to fill the appointments booked for this weekend, but other clinics, many in King County, do not have enough supply.
King County’s Kent and Auburn vaccination sites had enough doses to fulfill appointments until 4 p.m. Friday. The remaining appointments for Friday, Saturday and Monday are being rescheduled.
Next week, there will be nearly two weeks’ worth of doses to get into arms, but health officials said they can get it done.
“We feel pretty confident that when we get this week’s remaining doses and next week’s doses, our community partners and our teams are ready to administer them,” said Seattle-King County Public Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin.
He said local providers are ready to ramp up operations.
“We’ve been clamoring for more vaccines because we know we have more delivery capacity than we have supply,” he said.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) isn’t concerned with the influx, either.
“Our providers have been consistently requesting more vaccine than we have been given from the federal government,” the department said in a statement. “This means our providers should have the capacity to store and administer higher volumes of vaccine than they have been receiving.”
The state had a focus on delivering second doses, which are necessary for people to get full protection from COVID-19.
“Many of these doses for this week and next week are second doses,” Duchin said.
Because of the rescheduling, some people will get their second dose after the suggested three- to four-week timeline. Duchin said people shouldn’t be concerned.
“From everything we know about vaccine administration, delaying a second dose by a couple of weeks or even longer is not going to interfere with the effectiveness of that vaccine,” he said.
Doses will arrive in Washington starting Monday, but the first shipments will still be limited, the state said.
According to DOH, Pfizer will have extremely limited deliveries on Friday and Saturday in 38 locations nationwide, and the rest of the backlog will be delivered on Monday. Providers that will get a shipment Saturday will be contacted, the state said.
Moderna’s backlog will get shipped throughout the early part of next week and no later than Wednesday.
“Due to the backlog, it’s likely next week’s (Moderna) allocation won’t arrive until at least mid-week,” DOH said.
If your appointment was canceled, you should get a call to reschedule it. Officials said if your appointment for the second dose was canceled, you should be rescheduled with the same provider.