Wisconsin experiencing vaccine shipment delays due to severe weather conditions

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Some clinics and vaccine hubs are experiencing delays in their weekly vaccine shipments due to severe weather conditions that swept a majority of the county last week.

State health officials signaled last week delays were expected after the CDC reported the snow and freezing temperatures would impact all 50 states, leaving a backlog of about six million doses nationwide unable to be distributed.

Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services spokeswoman said appointments have been cancelled because of lack of supply.

“The weather, both in Wisconsin and across the nation where our suppliers are located, has had an impact on vaccine distribution,” said Jennifer Miller, DHS spokeswoman. “People who have had appointments cancelled due to lack of supply or cancellation of clinics due to weather are being rescheduled when the supply is available.”

But this week, some vaccine hubs are beginning to worry, as they patiently wait for more doses.

SSM Health is experiencing delays with their Moderna vaccine and said five of their clinics, Madison, Baraboo, Janesville, Fond du Lac and Waupun, are at risk of canceling appointments if supplies don’t arrive by Wednesday.

“These are the scenarios we are working with, but we remain hopeful the Moderna shipment will arrive on Wednesday, and if it does, we won’t have to make any scheduling changes,” said Mo Kharbat, VP of pharmacy services for SSM Health.

Kharbat said they are only experiencing delays with Moderna and already received their weekly Pfizer doses on time.

“We knew that these weather conditions would likely impact the distribution of the vaccine across the country, but some (locations) in Wisconsin did receive their allocation just before the storm hit,” Kharbat said. “We were lucky to get those (Pfizer) shipments as planned.”

Walgreens is also receiving fewer doses due to the winter conditions in the south that resulted in snowed-in FedEx trucks, road closures and power outages.

“A limited number of shipments as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership will arrive later than expected – we are taking necessary measures to ensure minimal disruption to our patients,” said a Walgreens corporate spokesperson.

Last week, Stephanie Schauer, Wisconsin's immunization program manager, said a majority of doses arrived in Wisconsin on time, without any issues.

The overall impact remains to be seen as more doses are expected to arrive later this week.

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