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Texas Won't Be Getting Its COVID-19 Vaccine Shipments Until Weather Conditions Improve, State Officials Say

UT Austin School of Nursing student Emily Houston holds a vial of COVID-19 vaccine Pfizer BioNTech during injections to healthcare workers at Dell Medical School on Dec. 15, 2020. (Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT News)
UT Austin School of Nursing student Emily Houston holds a vial of COVID-19 vaccine Pfizer BioNTech during injections to healthcare workers at Dell Medical School on Dec. 15, 2020. (Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT News)

Snowstorms across the state are expected to affect Texas’ effort to vaccinate people this week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “has put vaccine shipments on hold” due to dangerous conditions created by the storm, the Texas Department of State Health Services said.

“We are not expecting deliveries to occur until at least Wednesday and expect an update later today,” spokesman Douglas Loveday said in a statement. “Vaccination will resume as soon as it is safe.”

According to health officials last week, Texas was expected to “receive 407,650 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government for the week of Feb. 15.”

State officials had instructed the CDC to ship those doses to 302 providers in 158 counties – including 85 hub providers.

Local health officials in Central Texas and across the state have canceled COVID vaccinations until it is safer to travel.

Austin Public Health officials said they canceled 2,300 appointments for second doses on Monday alone. In a statement, they said they plan to reschedule appointments via email or phone for next week.

“We know this is frustrating and disappointing,” Dr. Mark Escott, the interim public health authority for Austin-Travis County, said in a statement. “The health and safety of our residents is our top priority and we want to ensure that we do not put people in harm’s way while protecting them from COVID-19.”

In Hays County, appointments for people scheduled to receive their second doses of the vaccine have been moved to Friday. First-dose appointments in Dripping Springs will take place next Monday and Tuesday. The county said it is in the process of notifying people.

State health officials said in a statement last week that an “additional 217 providers were also expected to get doses of the COVID vaccine this week“ with a focus on those that serve older adults, such as health departments, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, community and rural clinics, and some medical practices that specialize in care for older adults.

The state also planned to order “333,650 doses intended as the second dose for people first vaccinated a few weeks ago.” According to public health experts, people can receive their second shot between 28 to 42 days after the shot.

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