Bay Area counties forced to cancel thousands of vaccine appointments when shipments get stuck in snow

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Thousands of CA vaccine appointments abruptly canceled. Here's why.
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The winter weather that's turned much of the country into an icy mess is now impacting California's vaccine supply chain.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A winter storm that's turned Texas, the South and the Midwest into an icy, snowy, freezing mess is now impacting the Bay Area's vaccine distribution. Several counties have had to cancel or reschedule appointments as the vaccine supply chain has been disrupted by the extreme conditions.

The impact seems to primarily be affecting the arrival of Moderna doses, but some Pfizer shipments have also been delayed, said Gov. Gavin Newsom. California was expecting to receive 702,000 Moderna doses that have been delayed by weather, the governor said.

About 900 second-dose appointments in Napa County had to be rescheduled due to weather delays, the county tells ABC7 News.

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Santa Clara County is missing a whopping 31,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine that have been delayed by weather by Midwestern weather. Another 15,000 doses could be potentially delayed if things don't improve, the county said. If these shipments don't come in by early next week, the county will have to start canceling appointments.

San Mateo County was expecting 14,200 Moderna doses -- both first and second doses -- to arrive this week, but they haven't arrived yet. The county went forward with a vaccine clinic Friday at San Francisco International Airport, but had to switch from Moderna to Pfizer to make it happen. They canceled about 75 people's appointments due to the switch, said county spokesperson Preston Merchant.

Berkeley was also expecting a few thousand doses that never showed up.

San Francisco says its vaccine supply is "inconsistent and limited" possibly jeopardizing distribution plans next week. Marin County said it is "somewhat impacted," but didn't give specific numbers.

A pharmacy distributor in Contra Costa has had to cancel 500 appointments. The county is putting a pause on scheduling new first-dose appointments so they don't have to cancel them if supply chain issues continue. For the next two weeks, they're only giving people their second doses, not their first.

Sonoma County hasn't had to cancel any appointments yet, but they're still waiting on a delayed shipment of Moderna vaccines to arrive. Similarly, Alameda and Solano counties say they're OK for now, but might have to cancel appointments if disruptions continue.

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With winter weather slamming Memphis, Tenn., FedEx has started rerouting its COVID-19 vaccine shipments. Memphis is the company's largest shipping hub, but now it's rerouting shipments to other locations, including Oakland, to sort through the batches and get them on their way.

"Contingency planning has been ongoing as we adapt to the changing weather conditions throughout the country," the company said.

ABC7 News' Jesse Garcia contributed to this report.