KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Winter weather across much of the country caused shipping delays for COVID-19 vaccines, forcing several metro clinics to cancel appointments.
Mass vaccination clinics in Clay County are postponed through at least Saturday. Operation Safe Vaccine spent Thursday canceling all vaccine appointments for Friday, Feb. 19, and Saturday, Feb. 20.
The clinic said it would reschedule appointments as soon as it confirms vaccines will be delivered.
The VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System in Leavenworth also canceled vaccination appointments scheduled over the next few days. The cancelations impacted the Dwight D. Eisenhower and Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Centers.
The VA said it’s working to reschedule impacted appointments as quickly as possible.
The Johnson County Health Department said it hasn’t postponed clinics yet, however, weather conditions did delay the county’s vaccine shipment this week. Dr. Sanmi Areola said the late delivery may delay scheduling appointments, but shouldn’t delay anyone getting a vaccine.
“This has been a pretty harsh week in terms of weather across this area and that has impacted the delivery of vaccine. So we are hopeful,” Areola said. “We don’t have word as to whether that’s coming in tomorrow or coming in over the weekend, but whenever it’s here, we’ll be ready to vaccinate.”
Winter weather also made The University of Kansas Health System change plans for its clinics.
The health system apologized Monday during a Facebook Live after a group of people ended up standing outside in frigid conditions to get their vaccines.
Organizers said the problem arose when some patients showed up hours before their appointment times because they were concerned about the weather, or that the clinic would run out of vaccine.
“I can promise if you have an appointment scheduled, we will have a dose for you,” said Dr. David Wild, Vice President of Performance Improvement at The University of Kansas Health System. “It actually makes things harder for everyone in the building and everyone managing that process when we have patients come before their appointment time.”
Adding to the problem, Wild said patients showed up with friends and family who didn’t have appointments, hoping they could also be vaccinated.
To help with crowd control at clinic locations and to make sure there’s enough room to social distance, the University of Kansas Health System is asking patients to take several steps:
- Arrive on time for your appointment. Clinics cannot accommodate patients arriving hours early.
- Don’t go to a clinic unless you have an appointment. Walk-ins are not accepted at this time.
- Second doses are given at the same location as your first. A different clinic can’t give you a second dose.
- Follow any other instructions given when you make the appointments.
Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of Health and Environment for the state of Kansas, said that while the weather is causing shipping delays, the delays should be a day or two, not an extended period of time.