SAN FRANCISCO - Winter storms across the nation are causing delays in COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to Bay Area vaccine distribution sites. Some places are having to reschedule vaccine appointments or temporarily close mass vaccination sites because they don't have enough doses.
The winter storms have caused delays and backups at key transportation hubs, putting a freeze on the flow of U.S. coronavirus vaccine supplies.
San Mateo County health offcials say they were supposed to receive 14,200 Moderna vaccine doses on Tuesday, but the weather caused shipping delays.
Now, the county is scrambling to procure enough vaccine doses for Friday's mass vaccination event at SFO.
"We were expecting to use Moderna vaccine at SFO and we have about 4,000 appointments," said Dr. Anand Chabra, the COVID-19 Vaccine Section Chief at the San Mateo County Health Department.
Dr. Chabra says organizers had to quickly switch to their remaining Pfizer vaccine supplies, which were used Thursday at the San Mateo County Event Center.
Hundreds of people scheduled to get their second Moderna shot this week must be rescheduled.
San Francisco's new vaccine center at SF Market in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood was up and running Thursday after a shipment arrived the day before. There could be disruptions in deliveries, however. The San Francisco COVID Command Center says "We are experiencing some delays due to the inclement weather...We are waiting to hear from the state about our next deliveries and whether they will be impacted by further delays."
Santa Clara and Sonoma Counties have also reported weather-related delays.
"I'm getting concerned now because I'd need to get it done by a week from Saturday," said Phyllis Secosky who lives in Marin and is worried about getting her second Moderna vaccine shot.
Marin County spokeswoman Laine Hendricks says 3,500 Moderna doses did not arrive as scheduled this week. Second dose appointments are being shifted. Residents can check the county website and send a message for assistance: https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/contact
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says mass vaccination sites will close Friday because they don't have enough doses.
"This week, we are only allocated 60,000 vaccine doses. That is 60% less than what we're capable today of delivering," said Mayor Garcetti.
The vaccine weather delays come as the U.S. is facing a potential new wave of infection from the new variant coronavirus strains.
"We are in a race against time, a race between infections and injections," said Garcetti.
"The more people we can vaccinate, the more people that are protected, and the less likely the variant can gain a strong foothold in the Bay Area and in California," said Dr. Chabra.
The White House is pledging nearly $200 million to better identify the strains.
"We’re also working with our partners to move up scheduled deliveries whenever possible and to surge shipment operations through the end of the week into the weekend," said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary.
The CDC says people can receive their second vaccine dose up to 42 days after first dose and it will still be effective.