Weather delays some second doses of COVID vaccine in Las Vegas

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Christopher DeVargas

A healthcare worker for the Southern Nevada Health Department draws up a syringe with a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Monday Feb. 1, 2021.

Wed, Feb 17, 2021 (2:56 p.m.)

COVID-19 vaccine recipients who were due for their second dose of the Moderna vaccine later this week will have to be rescheduled because extreme winter weather in parts of the country delayed Nevada’s weekly shipment, county health officials said today.

Only Moderna recipients who were planning to get their second doses Thursday, Friday or Saturday will need to be rescheduled. The regular Pfizer shipment arrived as expected, and those recipients are not affected.

The Southern Nevada Health District will contact affected people directly.

The interrupted delivery also means the Health District will not give any first doses next week, as they use the week to catch up on the delayed second doses.

Chief Greg Cassell, a commander for the county’s incident management team, said recipients whose second doses were put off will hopefully be rescheduled for the same time and day of the week as their original appointments, just a week later.

“This is not an issue because the medicine can be given within a window of up to almost 40 days if needed, so it's not that the vaccine is not going to be good for you,” he said.

Joanne Rupiper, the Health District’s director of clinical services, said the delay was “very disappointing.” She said the district isn’t expecting the late shipment to land until later this week. They usually come on Mondays or Tuesdays.

Clark County Fire Chief John Steinbeck said the county is concerned with the supply chain break but knew it was possible. The state announced a likely weather-related delay on Monday.

States receive vaccine shipments from the federal government in one-week allotments, a regular source of angst.

“We really wish that we had more supply here in the valley at least to be able to absorb those type of supply issues, but we get the shipments when they come in and are not allowed to have any extra standing inventory to absorb these type of situations,” Steinbeck said. “That's the rulebook that we currently are following, and we apologize to anyone that's going to be inconvenienced by the supply chain problem.”

Additionally, the Cashman Center shot clinic will be closed Tuesday for staff training on a new computer system for scheduling and tracking doses.

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