Delayed shipments arrive, allowing Chatham providers to resume vaccinations

Posted 2/24/21

Last week’s severe weather delayed vaccine shipments across the country and forced Chatham vaccine providers to reschedule appointments originally planned for earlier this week. Now, the vaccine …

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Delayed shipments arrive, allowing Chatham providers to resume vaccinations

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Last week’s severe weather delayed vaccine shipments across the country and forced Chatham vaccine providers to reschedule appointments originally planned for earlier this week. Now, the vaccine shipments have arrived, and for Chatham’s biggest vaccine providers, it’s back to business as usual.

The Chatham County Public Health Department had expected to receive 400 doses of Moderna vaccine last Tuesday, said CCPHD’s director, Mike Zelek, but thanks to icy weather, they instead arrived a week later. According to CCPHD Communications Specialist, Zachary Horner, the department received about two weeks’ worth of vaccine allocations, or 1,000 doses, Tuesday morning.

“We are moving forward with plans to do vaccine events on Friday and Monday," Horner told the News + Record. Friday's event will administer first doses while Monday's event will administer both first and second doses.

Last Thursday, while snow and ice storms swept across the country, the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services announced that the weather had delayed some vaccine shipments, including both first and second doses. At that point, the state’s weekly allocation of Moderna vaccine hadn’t yet been shipped while “only a limited number of Pfizer vaccines” had.

According to the press release, weather had caused a backlog of orders for both vaccines.

“These delays may cause vaccination appointments to be postponed or rescheduled,” the release said. “As there is not enough vaccine in the state to shift or transfer supply in order to cover the delayed vaccine doses, DHHS is advising providers to assess current appointments and notify recipients accordingly based on on-hand supplies.”

On Feb. 19, DHHS provided an update, announcing that delayed vaccine shipments would likely arrive between Monday and Wednesday. This week’s allocations, the press release said, should also arrive during the same time.

Chatham County Public Health Department

Last week’s delays left the CCPHD unable to schedule first-dose vaccinations, but now that they’ve received their allocations, CCPHD staff will begin scheduling vaccination appointments for this upcoming Friday and Monday. Both mass vaccination events will take place at Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center in Pittsboro.

According to a Feb. 19 press release, Friday’s event will vaccinate frontline health care workers, seniors aged 65 and older, and for the first time, school and child care workers aged 50 and older.

Typically, the CCPHD’s allotted doses arrive on Tuesdays, and to date, Zelek said the CCPHD has only scheduled appointments after receiving its allotted doses. That’s why they can’t schedule appointments more than a week in advance, he added.

“We knew that there was always a chance that something like this would happen,” Zelek told the News + Record last Thursday, referring to shipment delays. “So we’ve been scheduling our appointments, predominately on Mondays, but also (on) Fridays. It gives us a little cushion.”

To register for a vaccination appointment with the CCPHD, visit chathamnc.org/vaccinetool or call (919) 545-8323.

Piedmont Health Services

On Thursday, inclement weather prompted Piedmont Health Services to cancel all of its COVID-19 vaccination appointments and instead reschedule them for last Friday and Monday. Piedmont has three Chatham-based clinics: the Siler City Community Health Center, the Moncure Community Health Center and the Piedmont Health SeniorCare (PACE) in Pittsboro.

PHS had also expected to vaccinate over 500 people last Saturday in Alamance County, but the shipment delays forced them to push the event back to next Saturday, Feb. 27, according to spokesperson Debra Markley.

“We thought we were getting 1,500 this week (across all locations),” she said last Friday. “We got none, so that’s why we’re having to cancel the Alamance event until next week.”

The vaccines arrived Monday, Markley told the News + Record Tuesday afternoon, and vaccinations will continue as planned. To schedule a vaccination appointment with Piedmont Health, new patients can visit piedmonthealth.org, click on the site’s vaccine tab and fill out a form to get on the waiting list. Existing patients can call their doctors.

UNC Health’s Chatham clinic

According to UNC Health spokesperson Alan Wolf, Chatham Hospital’s vaccination clinic opened today to administer first doses to eligible residents after receiving vaccines Monday. Delayed vaccine shipments had forced Chatham Hospital’s vaccination clinic to close Monday and Tuesday and reschedule appointments on both days for later this week.

“For the rest of the week, including Saturday, they will be administering first and second doses,” Wolf told the News + Record Tuesday. “They expect to administer 1,750 doses this week.”

To schedule a appointment with UNC Health, visit www.unchealthcare.org/schedule or call (984) 215-5485.

Reporter Victoria Johnson can be reached at victoria@chathamnr.com. This story has been updated.

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