Extreme weather disrupts vaccine shipping channels: Pender County left without expected doses

Ocean Ridge Plantation in Brunswick County withstood extreme damage from weather this week. The nationwide storms have left some counties in N.C. without their expected vaccine shipments. (Port City Daily photo/Alexandria Sands)

Update: Brunswick County released a Covid-19 update stating first dose appointments scheduled for Feb. 19 will proceed as planned. Due to shortages, the county will be rescheduling some second dose appointments.

In addition to leaving 23,000 North Carolinians without power, extreme weather has caused disruptions to vaccine shipping channels, according to state officials. 

“Both first and second dose shipments have been impacted,” the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced in a press release. “The Department is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and vaccine providers to help minimize the potential effects of these delays.”


A spokesperson for Pender County said appointments cannot be scheduled this week due to the weather’s impact. 

“We have not received vaccine this week,” said Carolyn Moser, the county’s health director. “I understand this is typical across the state.”

According to the DHHS: “Moderna vaccines have not been shipped this week and only a limited number of Pfizer vaccines have been shipped. Both Pfizer and Moderna have a backlog of orders due to weather.”

New Hanover County was expecting 1,500 doses of Moderna vaccine early this week, but ended up receiving a Pfizer shipment on Feb. 12 instead, according to a spokesperson. The New Hanover County shipment will last through next Tuesday, so the county will not have to cancel appointments.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center will receive its baseline allocation of 1,950 Pfizer doses as scheduled. Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center will also receive its baseline of 975 Pfizer doses. 

A spokesperson for the N.C. Department of Public Safety stated that weather-related delays impacted national carriers like UPS and FedEx, both movers of vaccine shipments, leading to the rescheduling of vaccine events statewide. A previously planned Wake County drive-through scheduled for Thursday at the PNC Arena will not occur, the spokesperson said. 

“These delays may cause vaccination appointments to be postponed or rescheduled,” according to the DHHS. “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.” 

In a press conference Thursday, Gov.Roy Cooper stated 28 school districts have temporarily closed due to the weather, which struck especially hard in the state’s northern and western counties. Brunswick County, which underwent a devastating tornado earlier in the week, did not respond to a request for comment on potential delays to vaccine shipments. 

Read More: Gov. Roy Cooper tours Brunswick County tornado destruction

“Delays in vaccine shipment from the federal government are frustrating to us all, but providers are working to get appointments scheduled and we are pushing to get more vaccine to our state,” Cooper said.


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