HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of COVID vaccine appointments in Hawaii are being rescheduled as severe winter weather on the mainland delays multiple shipments of the shots.
Queen’s Health Systems rescheduled appointments set for Thursday and Friday at the Blaisdell Concert Hall vaccination clinic to Saturday. Patients were notified, the healthcare organization said.
The state Department of Health also announced that a vaccine clinic planned for Kamehameha Schools Hawaii Island on Friday has been postponed until March.
More than 300 people were slated to get their first shot at that clinic.
The disruptions come as millions of Americans are bracing for another round of snow, sleet and freezing rain as severe weather blasts much of the mainland.
The state Health Department reported Wednesday the storms had delayed more than 37,000 doses of vaccine that were set to arrive this week. Just 10,250 were delivered.
Shipping delays prompted health officials to cancel a vaccination clinic Wednesday at Leeward Community College ― and thousands more appointments statewide are in jeopardy.
[The severe winter weather is disrupting vaccine shipments nationwide. Click here to read more.]
On Wednesday morning, an electronic sign on the road leading to Leeward Community College scrolled this message: “Vaccinations canceled today. Please check e-mail.” It seems most saw the notification in their inbox. Security guards say they only had to turn away a handful of people.
“It’s just so frustrating,” said Hilton Raethel, head of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii. “We had a really good cadence. Now all of these issues.”
He said three out of four shipments that were supposed to arrive in Hawaii this week were canceled due to severe weather. There’s no word on when those doses could arrive.
Meanwhile, the CDC warns more deliveries could be halted in the coming days.
“We’re expecting another approximately 45,000 doses next week that are potentially at risk as well,” said Raethel. “It could potentially impact thousands of individuals across the state.”
He says many of the cancellations would affect people coming in for their second shot.
He said for the Pfizer vaccine, you should get your second dose within 21 days but the window is good for up to six weeks. For Moderna, the recommendation is 28 days but you can also go to six weeks.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green says even with the current delays he believes Hawaii is still on track to administer 350,000 doses of the vaccine by the end of the month.
He says when the shots do arrive, there’s plenty of staff to administer doses quickly and catch up.
“We’ve been doing about 45,000 to 50,000 doses a week. We’re capable of doing about 80,000 doses a week with our personnel,” Green said.
”So as these doses come in from the mainland after the storm we’ll accelerate that.”
Vaccinators will continue to administer the doses they have, but Raethel says if your appointment is in the next few days, don’t be surprised if it’s postponed.
“Some of them will be able to get their vaccine,” he said. “Some of them will not.”
Meanwhile, Hawaii Pacific Health said Thursday none of its appointments at Pier 2 need to be rescheduled so far. And Maui and Kauai counties also said they don’t expect any vaccination delays or cancellations this week. Kona Community Hospital, as well as Hilo Medical Center on Hawaii Island said they won’t be impacted.