Bitter cold, snow forces COVID-19 vaccination delays in Kansas and Missouri

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Thermometer on snow shows low temperatures under zero. Low temperatures in degrees Celsius and fahrenheit. Cold winter weather twenty under zero.Thermometer on snow shows low temperatures under zero. Low temperatures in degrees Celsius and fahrenheit. Cold winter weather twenty under zero.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The number of cases of COVID-19 are dropping across the country. Health experts say a large part of that is due to the number of people being vaccinated against the virus.

Vaccination rates hit a snag because of delays to the bitter cold, snow and possibly rolling blackouts.

Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said the mix means vaccination rates will be delayed slightly.

“This deep cold is delaying the Federal Government in shipping some of our vaccine to us this week,” Norman said on a Facebook live with the University of Kansas Health System on Tuesday. “So there’ll be a delay of the Monday Tuesday vaccine probably won’t arrive until Wednesday or Thursday, so we are dependent on Mother Nature and we’ll catch it up.”

The Johnson County Department of Health postposed a vaccine clinic Tuesday because of the extreme cold and potential for rolling blackouts. Appointments scheduled for Feb. 16 were moved to Feb. 24.

Monday, Governor Parson canceled all COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics scheduled through the Missouri National Guard. The clinics are canceled through Feb. 18. The governor said he made the decision because of the bitter cold, but also because of the anticipation that shipments will be delayed.

Parson said the state is working to reschedule the clinics, but you may want to check other providers for availability.

Parson and Norman agreed that the delay will not impact the number of doses each state received to vaccinate the public.

Dr. Norman expected the delays to last just a couple of days.

“I think it’s going to be a very brief speedbump in the road,” Norman said. “If it gets into our state, we’re going to push it out.”

Health experts also said there’s no reason to panic if you miss getting your booster by a day or two.

“In the CDC guidance they allow 4 days on either side of that second dose,” Dr. Dana Hawkinson said. “There’s more and more evidence that even delaying that dose, because of one reason or another, that 6 weeks, 12 weeks is OK. You’ll still having that boosting effect, but you want to stay on schedule as much as possible.”

If your vaccination appointment was canceled, the site will contact you to reschedule.

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