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Severe winter weather walloping the mainland delays vaccine shipments to Hawaii

Updated: Feb. 17, 2021 at 2:44 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Severe winter weather across much of the US is delaying critical vaccine shipments to the islands, forcing health care providers to cancel appointments and warn that more disruptions are possible.

The state Health Department said 14,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine that were supposed to arrive on Tuesday did not make it.

Healthcare Association of Hawaii President and CEO Hilton Raethel said Pfizer shipments have also been delayed.

[The severe winter weather is disrupting vaccine shipments nationwide. Click here to read more.]

“We got notification today that the shipments from Michigan, the Pfizer shipments, which would normally ship out today are all pending because of the weather,” Raethel said.

A DOH spokesperson added that the state was anticipating a delivery of 42,800 more doses this week, along with an additional 4,400 doses to be delivered directly to CVS Health and Longs Drugs.

It is not known how long this latest delay will push back the arrival of the vials.

Because of this, a vaccine distribution planned for Wednesday at Leeward Community College was canceled. Those who had appointments have been notified and will be aided in rescheduling.

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The Queen’s vaccination clinic at the Blaisdell also announced changes in their vaccination schedule.

Kupuna who had first-dose appointments scheduled this week have been rebooked to Saturday, the same time some will be returning for their second dose.

Hospital officials added that the Queen’s Conference Center at Punchbowl continues to honor appointments that have already been scheduled for this week. No appointments are being canceled.

“We would love nothing more than to be able to provide 4,000 doses or more each day,” said Jason Chang, president of The Queen’s Medical Center. “As we wait for additional shipments to arrive, we are making adjustments based on availability of doses and to ensure we are operating efficiently.”

The state DOH said 10 trays of the Pfizer vaccine, which equates to 9,750 doses, arrived as scheduled on Tuesday.

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green said residents should not panic.

“If we did get like a 10-day nastiness on the mainland, we’d have to start worrying. But I think we’ll be OK,” Green said.

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