Winter storm Uri that swept through Texas has put a temporary halt on COVID-19 vaccinations and dose shipments this week.
Texas was set to receive 407,650 first doses of the vaccine from the federal government this week but the shipment was postponed on Feb. 12 in anticipation of the bad weather, according to an article by The Texas Tribune.
“Local providers have postponed vaccine clinics because it is not safe for people to be out across much of Texas. Vaccination will resume as soon as conditions permit,” Texas Department of State Health Services spokesman Chris Van Deusen told The Texas Tribune. “I haven’t heard of any public sites being open, but I guess there could be some isolated places where that’s possible.”
The Parker County Hospital District's clinics were canceled Sunday through Thursday due to the impacts of the winter storm. No new appointment slots were posted to accommodate patients rescheduled from this week’s cancelations.
Dr. Steven Welch, Parker County health authority, said the hospital district hopes to begin vaccinating people again on Saturday.
“Due to the significant weather event creating a delay, we have temporarily stopped making any new online appointments until we can get caught up,” he said. “We are actively contacting those who were scheduled to get either their first or second vaccine this week and will get them rescheduled as soon as possible. We are going to be giving shots seven days a week at multiple locations as well as extending our hours to get back on schedule as quickly as possible.”
Welch added that the hospital district will be receiving its usual number of doses — 2,340 first doses and 2,340 second doses.
The PCHD published the rescheduling of appointments on its Facebook page and website. Those scheduled to receive their second dose at both Weatherford clinics — 118 Columbia St. and 712 E. Anderson St. — on Wednesday have been moved to Feb. 21 at the Columbia Street clinic.
Those that were scheduled for their second dose on Thursday have been moved to Feb. 28 at the Columbia street clinic.
First and second dose appointments set for Thursday at East Anderson Street have been moved to Feb. 21 at the same location.
First dose appointments scheduled for Thursday and Friday at the Columbia Street clinic will be rescheduled to the East Anderson clinic sometime between Feb. 22-26.
Those that were set to receive their second dose at the Columbia Street clinic have been moved to Feb. 28 at the 1130 Pecan St. location.
“There is an allowance for the second dose of either vaccine to be given up to six weeks after the first dose,” Welch said. “We are currently calling people who were due for their second vaccine dose this week to get them rescheduled within the next seven to 10 days. We will be able to get the second doses administered well within the guidelines.”
Palo Pinto County Health Office Dr. Ed Evans said the storm has affected their vaccinations just like everyone else and appointments have been rescheduled.
“The next shipment we plan on getting — as far as we know, according to the state — is the first of next week,” he said. “Patience is always a virtue and we need a lot of it right now. Everybody’s looking for somebody to blame and there’s nothing to blame.”
Winter storm Uri also impacted Palo Pinto General Hospital, which closed its clinics on Monday. However, the PPGH emergency room remains open.
“There’s been a whole statewide delay because of the weather but we plan on starting to give [the vaccines] out again next week,” PPGH Director of Marketing Megan Hudson said. “Just like before, Palo Pinto County is in charge of calling and setting all those up, we just give the shots out.”