California Struggles to Continue Vaccinations as Supply Runs Low After Winter Storms

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Vaccination efforts in California hit a roadblock last week, with some areas experiencing full closure as vaccine centers were forced to temporarily shut down and delay appointments due to the winter storms across the United States slowing down the distribution of the vaccine.

California residents may find it difficult to set an appointment for vaccination this week despite some sites starting to open their doors again. Several regions and health care providers across the state struggle to recover from last week’s storms.

Delayed Vaccinations

“Obviously, the impacts of this extreme weather have had an impact here in the state of California, as it relates to our supply,” California State Governor Gavin Newsom said during a press conference on Sunday.

Last week, several vaccine sites in the Bay Area were temporarily shut down, including the San Francisco City College and Moscone Center.

Authorities announced that Moscone Center would remain closed until 11:00 a.m. Thursday, only reopening its doors on Friday with normal operational hours. The center has available appointment slots opening up at 8:00 a.m. City officials delayed the reopening of the vaccination site from today to Friday due to the low supply of doses.

The Midwest storm forced the delay of an expected shipment of 5,100 doses of the Moderna vaccine last week, Sonoma County officials said.

“We are now expecting it to arrive today. As a result of the delay, three clinics over the weekend or today had to reschedule about 1,500 total appointments,” Sonoma County spokesperson Matt Brown said.

In a similar fashion, 2,000 doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine expected to arrive at Napa County last week were not distributed in time.

Vaccine Doses

“Our call center reached out via phone and email to reschedule between 860 and 900 second appointments that were supposed to take place today and tomorrow. They have all been rescheduled to this Thursday and Friday. We should know today or tomorrow if they are going to arrive this week or not,” said Napa County spokesperson Janet Upton.

While the supply of Moderna vaccines in Santa Clara County remained low due to delays in distribution brought by the storms, authorities were able to accommodate scheduled appointments with the remaining coronavirus vaccines they had.

“The delays have not had a significant effect on vaccination distribution thus far. Continued delays could result in canceled appointments,” a statement from the county said, the San Francisco Gate reported.

Shipment delays have affected health care facilities. Sutter Health said the allocated Moderna vaccine doses against COVID-19 that were on their way to California have not yet arrived.

“Because of this delay, we are in the process of rescheduling Moderna second-dose vaccine appointments for some patients. Additionally, due to ongoing supply issues from the state, our capacity to schedule new vaccination [appointments] is constrained. At this time, Sutter Health has paused scheduling new first dose appointments for COVID-19 vaccination due to a lack of vaccine supply. As soon as more vaccine is made available to us, we will reopen appointments,” said Sutter Health spokesperson Monique Binkley in an email.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.