Thousands of vaccine appointments postponed due to lack of supply, weather

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- For the second time this month, UW Health had to cancel thousands of vaccine appointments due to lack of supply. 

UW Health, one of the largest health care providers in the state, said they postponed over 4,000 appointments this week. A majority of those impacted were older adults, 65-year-olds and up. 

Two weeks ago, they canceled more than 2,400 appointments. 

"Part of the reason this keeps happening is because the state is shipping more vials of the vaccine across the state, resulting in fewer doses for the UW system," said Matt Anderson, UW Health senior medical director of primary care. 

“The emotions for our patients, I’m sure, are frustration and disappointment, and those are the same for us,” said Anderson.

UW Health said state health officials initially asked them to prioritize vaccinating their primary care patients to be prepared by the March 1 deadline when eligibility for the vaccine opens up to additional residents. 

A few weeks into the process, things were going smoothly, Anderson said, but then the state changed how many doses UW receives each week. This resulted in too many appointments booked without enough supply.

“The supply needed to come and it didn’t, so that’s why we had to reschedule, because we built for a system and the supply didn’t come to fulfill that,” said Anderson.

While UW Health plays catch up with their appointments, they are encouraging their patients to go elsewhere for the vaccine if it's available.

“We are certainly able to serve them, but we want them to know there might be another vaccine available somewhere else sooner and that we fully support them in doing so,” he said.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said vaccine cancellations are occurring across the state, after several vaccine hubs experienced delays in their weekly shipments due to severe weather conditions that swept a majority of the county last week.

“It’s challenging for them, I know it’s challenging for the people who were hoping to get their vaccine this week,” Van Dijk said on Thursday. 

DHS launched a tool aimed at helping people connect with vaccine providers. 

The COVID-19 vaccine provider map is designed to improve transparency in the vaccine distribution process by identifying where vaccines are being sent across the state. It is also intended to help Wisconsinites more easily find and connect with vaccine providers in their area.

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