Public health officials say extreme winter weather across the U.S. has prevented any coronavirus vaccine from being shipped to Idaho this week, potentially delaying some vaccination efforts.
Some Idaho residents may find their vaccination appointments temporarily postponed. Like many other states across the country, Idaho's shipments were delayed by harsh winter weather, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare spokesman Zachary Clark confirmed Friday.
That has some vaccine providers scrambling to make sure people can get their second shot on time. The second shots are necessary for recipients to be fully immunized, and they are supposed to be given within a strict time frame: five weeks from the first shot for the Moderna vaccine, and about three weeks after the first shot for the Pfizer vaccine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that in extreme circumstances, the booster shots can be safely delayed, however.
Primary Health Medical Group, Idaho’s largest independent medical group, loaned about 1,400 Moderna doses to Idaho’s largest hospital system to ensure people scheduled with St. Luke’s Health System to receive their second dose this weekend wouldn’t have to go without.
St. Luke’s will return the same number of doses to Primary Health once the weather improves and the delayed shipment arrives, said St. Luke’s spokeswoman Anita Kissée. She said the hospital system appreciated Primary Health’s willingness to “share this precious resource and to lend a helping hand.”
Idaho’s delayed doses were believed to still be in storage at the facilities where they were made, Clark said, and so officials don’t believe there is any risk of spoilage.
State health officials have been holding daily weather meetings with the CDC in an effort to determine when the delayed vaccine will make it to Idaho, said Sarah Leeds, the manager of the Idaho Immunization Program.
“We are really, really staying on it,” Leeds told members of the state's COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee Friday afternoon. “We know if we don't get shipments by Monday, a lot of our providers will have some significant appointments to reschedule.”