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Vaccines Heading to L.A. Held Up by Winter Storms; Appointments Postponed

Medical workers load syringes with the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to be administered by nurses at a vaccination site at Kedren Community Health Center, in South Central Los Angeles, California on February 16, 2021.
Medical workers load syringes with the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to be administered by nurses at a vaccination site at Kedren Community Health Center, in South Central Los Angeles, California on Feb. 16, 2021. | APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images
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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles' city-run vaccination sites will be closed today and all appointments rescheduled due to supply delays caused by winter storms throughout the nation.

“Severe weather across the country has disrupted travel and shipping nationwide, including delaying the delivery of our vaccines,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday while announcing the closures. “Our city is ready toadminister COVID-19 vaccines swiftly, safely and equitably — and as soon as doses arrive in Los Angeles, we will get them into people's arms immediately.”

Two shipments of vaccines heading to Los Angeles were held up due to grounded flights and icy roads:-- 26,000 doses that were supposed to arrive Tuesday are in Kentucky; and-- 37,000 doses intended to be used for next week's appointments are in Tennessee.

Weather-related delays of vaccine shipments have also forced the closure of vaccination sites in Orange County and are causing delays in vaccinations in San Diego County.

However, Los Angeles County officials said their sites have not been affected by any weather-related issues, and will remain open as scheduled. The Los Angeles County sites are administering only second doses of the two-dose regimen for people in need of their second shot.

Garcetti said the city's mobile vaccination efforts will continue on Friday.

“One thing we won't pause on, even in the face of terrible weather and logistical challenges like these, is our commitment to equity. And even as we have to close down for a day those large vaccination sites, our mobile equity sites, those vans and those vehicles that are going out into communities to make sure, especially in hard-hit, high-density, low-income communities of color, we will continue to vaccinate tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday,” Garcetti said during his COVID-19 briefing Thursday.

The 12,500 people who had appointments scheduled at Los Angeles city-run sites Friday will receive a notification by text, email or phone that their appointment is postponed, according to Garcetti's office.

However, dozens of people showed up at the Dodger Stadium site for their previously scheduled appointments, apparently unaware of the closure, some saying they never got a cancellation text or email, according to a tweet from a KTLA5 reporter.

People whose appointments need to be rescheduled will be prioritized for new appointments once the city receives vaccine supply and receive a notification about their automatically rescheduled appointment.

“We are collaborating closely with the city of Los Angeles to ensure the vaccination distribution process is as smooth as possible,” said Dr. Sujal Mandavia, chief medical officer of Carbon Health, which coordinates the city's vaccination efforts.

“Second-dose appointments will be prioritized, and it is our intent to administer those second doses within the CDC-recommended time frame of 42 days after the first dose.”

The latest disruption comes less than a week after the city closed its vaccination sites last Friday and Saturday after exhausting its supply of first-dose Moderna vaccines.

Prior to running out of vaccines, the city received only 16,000 new doses for the week, while it was administering an average of 13,051 doses per day.

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