ALABAMA, USA — The winter storm is delaying the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S.
With clinics in North Alabama already pushing back vaccination appointments due to dangerous road conditions, it could be days or even weeks until people get their booster shot.
If your appointment to get the second dose of the COVID vaccine was postponed due to the weather, the Alabama Department of Public Health says they're doing everything they can to make sure you get your second dose as soon as possible.
Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH said, "We are committed to being flexible with this. We do realize it's going to be quite a bit of flexibility at least for the short term, but we're going to get these patients taken care of."
Some clinics in the Tennessee Valley have had to delay or close completely due to the winter storm.
"We want everyone to remain safe. The persons that are bringing in those shipments, those drivers that are delivering the product, our staff that has to receive product as well as administer product, and of course our patients," said Dr. Landers. "We don't want people out trying to come into a building with iced over sidewalks."
Once the snow and ice melt, Dr. Landers says they will extend the hours of vaccination clinics that had to close and open them on the weekends to ensure people get their shots quickly.
The icy weather is expected to impact shipments of vaccine across the nation, including Alabama.
"We have had some shipment delay, but we'll get the product," said Dr. Landers. "When you think about Memphis being a big FedEx hub, that just one particular hub right there can affect Alabama."
These delays could cause vaccination sites, like Huntsville Hospital's Community Vaccination Clinic, to get fewer doses than they are normally allocated. Huntsville Hospital says this should not impact people who already have appointments.
Huntsville Hospital Senior Vice President of Operations, Tracy Doughty, said, "Everybody who has been scheduled so far with us for first or second dose, we have your dose reserved, so no need to worry."
The hospital is still working to vaccinate those who had to delay their second dose appointments this week. They say everyone who had to reschedule should get their second dose by this weekend.
"You have to anticipate and be resilient, and we have a good group of folks here that can change on the fly and make it happen," said Doughty.
If your vaccination clinic is still closed due to the weather and you're waiting to get your booster shot, ADPH says don't worry.
Appointments for second doses are scheduled three to four weeks apart depending on the vaccine, but according to the CDC, second shots can be given up to six weeks after the first dose.
Dr. Landers says even though they would prefer to give second dose shots within the 21 day or 28 day timeframe, they can still administer the second dose even later than six weeks after the first shot.
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