While it may not snow much in San Diego County, the snow and severe weather in other parts of the U.S. is impacting the delivery of vaccines to our region, which will cause delays in local vaccinations.
At a weekly news briefing focused on COVID-19 updates, San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the county had received word that several shipments of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine scheduled to arrive this week in San Diego County will not be arriving due to inclement weather impacting the country.
“This is going to impact our ability to administer vaccines this week,” Fletcher said. “A second set of delays is going to have a very significant impact on our system.”
Moderna’s primary manufacturing facility is in Michigan, while Pfizer’s is in Massachusetts, county officials said.
Fletcher said routes from those facilities to San Diego County have been impacted by the severe winter weather.
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher detailed the reasons for vaccine shipment delays during a press conference on Feb. 17, 2021.
As a result of the vaccine shipment delays, Fletcher said the county will have to pause vaccinations at some sites as early as Thursday.
“We also are very likely to reschedule appointments,” he explained. “We appreciate everyone’s patience. We continue to monitor the situation. We will adjust and, as a county, will continue to do everything we can to get vaccines into arms as rapidly as possible.”
San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said some local coronavirus vaccination sites will have to “pause” immunizations as early as Thursday due to the delay, reports NBC 7’s Omari Fleming.
Late Wednesday, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said it was canceling all of its Thursday appointments at Balboa Municipal Gym due to insufficient supply.
NBC 7 is working to gather information on other vaccination locations that will be impacted.
As of Wednesday, county public health officials said the county had administered 663,000 coronavirus vaccines.
Fletcher said the county is “frustrated” by the delays and understands that the public will feel that same frustration.
He said county public health officials believe the supply-chain issues will “work themselves out in the next week to 10 days.”
“We have a high degree of confidence that in the first week of March, we will be able to move into that first tier of essential workers: teachers, agriculture and law enforcement,” Fletcher added at Wednesday’s briefing. “We think we are getting to a place where we have reached a significant number of seniors, and, as the supply comes in, we believe the first week of March, we will be able to do that.”
Fletcher said on Wednesday that he did not expect the delays to be significant enough to push anybody scheduled for a second dose past the six-week deadline advised by the Centers for Disease Control, since most follow-up shots are scheduled for two to three weeks after the initial shot.
However, the county supervisor did say the delivery delay and subsequent shortage may affect some appointments for first shots.
“[There] will be a tremendous strain on the system to fulfill second-dose appointments, which means, barring some significant change in supply chains, the availability of first-dose appointments for the next week to 10 days will probably be fairly limited,” Fletcher said.
Earlier Vaccine Delays in San Diego County
The coronavirus vaccine first arrived in San Diego County in mid-December 2020, but this isn’t the first time that delays have impacted the flow of local vaccinations.
On Feb. 12, the county said an expected shipment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines never arrived and this would impact the availability of vaccines in the region. The source of that shipment’s delay was unclear.
The shortage prompted the county to close its vaccination super station at Petco Park in the East Village for three days. During that delay, vaccination appointments were postponed and rescheduled as the county prioritized people who were due for their second dose.
The overdue shipment arrived Tuesday and, by Wednesday, the super station in the East Village reopened.