COVID-19 vaccine clinics canceled after shots fail to arrive

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COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Washington County and across the state were canceled last week after the state's shipment of vaccines were delayed due to issues at distribution sites and inclement weather.

Memorial Community Hospital and Health System (MCH) and the Three Rivers Public Health Department were scheduled to host clinics Thursday and Friday, respectively, in Blair. Both were canceled.

Manny Banner, MCH CEO and president, said hospital officials learned at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday they would not receive their scheduled allotment of 200 doses for the clinic, which was to be held at the Gardner-Hawks Center on the former Dana College campus.

“At that time, we just took the list of 200 people and divided it between 10 of us and we started calling,” she said.

It took hospital staff about an hour to notify those who were to receive vaccines. Those scheduled are on the 65-and-older waiting list. Banner said there are about 1,500 people still on the list.

Those who were scheduled to get their vaccine last week were expected to be rescheduled for this week. If MCH receives allotments for both last week and this week, Banner said they could administer vaccines to 400 people on Thursday.

“But if that's not the case, we'll just push everyone back,” she said.

That decision was expected to be made Monday.

MCH holds vaccine clinics once a week. On Feb. 11, in partnership with Angels Share, the clinic was moved from the hospital to the Gardner-Hawks Center. For each clinic, MCH has received 200 doses.

“We have been lucky. The health department every week so far has gotten some extra so they have subsidized our allotment with what they have extra,” Banner said.

On Thursday, Gov. Pete Ricketts said the state continues to prioritize vaccinations for people 65 and older. He cited age as the single biggest factor in determining who is mostly likely to be severely impacted by the coronavirus.

While there was a delay, more Nebraskans could be getting vaccinated sooner. It is expected with the increasing amount of vaccine supply that the state could begin vaccinating the general population in April or May.

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