North Carolina faces COVID vaccine delays amid poor weather

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina vaccine providers have yet to receive tens of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines the federal government was set to deliver this week, state health officials announced Thursday morning.

The Department of Health and Human Services is now asking clinics to plan to postpone appointments because of the delays fueled by severe winter weather.

None of the more than 163,000 first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine scheduled to arrive this week have been delivered by President Joe Biden’s administration, the state health department said. The state also noted that only a limited number of the nearly 127,000 expected Pfizer vaccines have been shipped.

North Carolina health officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce the consequences of the delay.

“As there is not enough vaccine in the state to shift or transfer supply in order to cover the delayed vaccine doses, DHHS is advising providers to assess current appointments and notify recipients accordingly based on on-hand supplies,” the department said in a statement.

It did not immediately respond to a request for comment on locations hardest hit by the shipping issues or the number of people expected to need their vaccine appointments rescheduled.

David Wohl, an infectious disease expert at UNC Health who oversees two vaccination sites in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, said both clinics were closed Thursday and that everyone affected is being contacted and rescheduled.

Several other states have also reported delays due to the inclement weather across much of the country.

North Carolina was on track to receive more than 290,000 total first and second doses of vaccine this week, with about 56% coming from Moderna. Because of the way the doses are packaged and stored, people in rural communities are often likelier to get Moderna shots.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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Follow Anderson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BryanRAnderson.

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Anderson is a corps members for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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