chicago covid vaccine

More Than 100 Providers Didn't Get COVID Vaccine Shipments in Chicago as Snowstorm Sparks Delays

File image from Pfizer vaccine production line

The winter storm that dumped more than a foot of snow across much of the Chicago area this week has led to a delay in vaccine shipments to the city, leaving more than 100 providers without their expected shipments, officials said Tuesday.

Already, city-run testing and vaccinations sites were closed Tuesday following the massive snowstorm.

"The inclement weather in the Midwest has also led to a delay of vaccine shipments coming into Chicago over the upcoming days," the Chicago Department of Public Health said in a release. While there is currently no estimated time of arrival on the orders, we anticipate daily updates from CDC. All COVID shipments are requested as overnight shipping so we expect vaccine shipments and supply with catch up quickly."

The latest system blanketed parts of the Chicago area with up to a foot and a half of snow, shuttering schools to in-person classes Tuesday as officials urged residents to stay off the snow-filled roads.

The National Weather Service reported that 18 inches of snow had fallen in some locations by 8 a.m. Tuesday, while Midway International Airport had 17.7 inches and O’Hare International Airport reported 7.5 inches.

Illinois State Police and the state Department of Transportation urged residents to stay at home Tuesday while crews clear roadways. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker also issued a disaster proclamation for all Illinois counties.

Officials noted that deliveries from Chicago's allocation to vaccine providers will also be delayed due to the travel impacts from the storm.

Officials urged anyone with appointments at private healthcare centers to contact their providers and check on the status of their appointments.

"The city is assessing the overall impact from the storm and will make further decisions regarding testing and vaccine operations on a day-to-day," CDPH stated.

CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the city usually receives its weekly shipments on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. But with Monday being a federal holiday, followed by a dangerous winter snowstorm, "we didn't get the vaccine we were expected."

"There's more than 100 providers that didn't get their vaccine like we were hoping today," Arwady said in a Facebook Live video Tuesday. "We just need to wait for that vaccine to get here."

She added that she's hopeful the shipments will arrive in the next days or two.

Arwady said the city's pod vaccination sites were rescheduling residents' appointments due to closures from the storm as well as the shipping delays.

"You do not need to get back online and try to fight and find another appointment," she said.

As for other providers, Arwady said many will also be rescheduling patients.

"Before you travel out in this snow, which it's very hard for people to be getting out of driveways and down the streets right now, make sure that that site is operating. We can control a lot of things but we can't control the weather."

She stressed, however, that vaccine doses currently in Chicago are under proper storage conditions and "will not be wasted."

Still, the Illinois Department of Public Health said "weather will most likely contribute to reduced vaccinations over the next several days."

Similarly, the snow, ice and bitter cold gripping Missouri has delayed people from coronavirus vaccinations, including those who signed up for mass inoculation events that had been scheduled for this week.

The governor’s office said it was trying to reschedule the National Guard-run events, but that registrants should seek vaccinations elsewhere in the meantime. Gov. Mike Parson also said the conditions would likely delay some vaccine shipments.

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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