LANSING — The winter storm that this week dropped snow, sleet and a deep freeze from the Dakotas to Texas and east to Tennessee, delayed vaccine shipments, including some bound for Michigan, the state’s emergency operations center said.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, advised people to confirm their vaccine appointments prior to traveling to providers and have patience with healthcare workers if rescheduling is required.
The Centers for Disease Control notified the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services of the delays on Wednesday, Khaldun said.
“Unfortunately, distribution of the vaccine in this circumstance is simply out of our control,” Khaldun said in a press release.
Pfizer vaccines scheduled to be shipped across the state Monday were held up, the state’s emergency operations center said, though a limited number of vaccines have since shipped.
Moderna vaccine shipments bound for Michigan and routed through McKesson, a distribution center in Memphis, were also impacted by the severe weather, which caused air and ground transport difficulties, the operations center said.
No Moderna vaccines were shipped between Monday and Wednesday and a significant backlog is likely to slow shipments once orders resume possibly this weekend, information provided by the Michigan Health and Human Services showed.
As of Feb. 12, Grand Traverse County’s Health Department administered 7,933 first doses of the vaccine and 3,120 second doses, information on their website shows.
Vaccines were also administered at local pharmacies, Munson Healthcare, Spectrum Health, MidMichigan Health and other hospitals and physician’s offices.
An employee who answered the phone at Meijer Pharmacy in Traverse City on U.S. 31 North, said the delay had impacted the pharmacy’s vaccine supply and appointments were being rescheduled.
Not all vaccine clinics were impacted, however.
A vaccine clinic hosted by District Health Department 10 in Newaygo for those with pre-scheduled appointments will go on as planned, officials said.
“Because our clinics are on Friday and Saturday, we don’t have any issues due to weather delays,” said spokeswoman Jeannine Taylor.
More information on the state’s vaccine plan is available at Michigan.gov/coronavirus.
In addition, a vaccine scheduling website built and updated by volunteers, vaccinemi.org, lists availability, county policies and vaccination sites.
Besides Michigan, vaccine shipments to California, Maryland, Florida and a dozen other states have also been delayed, according to the CDC.