First-round vaccine appointments canceled this week
Tight supply forces saving it for second doses
Last updated 2/17/2021 at 8:41am
The top administrator at the organization that has been providing vaccines at Coulee Medical Center said Feb. 10 that existing appointments for a first-round vaccine against Covid-19 are to be canceled due to lack of supply.
“We don’t have enough,” said Theresa Sullivan, chief executive officer of Samaritan Healthcare in Moses Lake.
Apparently, the local area is not alone in that assessment. The state Dept. of Health state two days later, that second doses would be emphasized across the state this week in light of low supply.
“We are monitoring the distribution of doses closely and making adjustments as needed,” said state Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah. “While the limited availability of first doses will be challenging this coming week, focusing on second doses will help pave the way for an improved and more sustainable allocation of vaccines in future weeks.”
In Moses Lake, Sullivan told county leaders on a scheduled Zoom call last Wednesday that nearly 2,100 appointments for the first vaccine had to be canceled in order to make sure they have enough vaccine doses to meet commitments for scheduled second-vaccine shots.
The Pfizer vaccination is a two-shot process, with the second shot needing to be injected three weeks after the first.
“We will be close on whether we will be able to five all those second doses,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said those cancelations will include not just their Moses Lake schedule, but also all those clinics scheduled for clinics further out in the county, including at Coulee Medical Center.
CMC had a drive-through clinic scheduled for Feb. 26. Those with appointments for a second shot should still keep that appointment. But people scheduled for a first-round shot will have their appointments canceled, Sullivan said.
“We get no notification,” Sullivan said of the process through which vaccine supply comes from the federal government through the state.
That process is just now changing, noted Grant County Health District Administrator Theresa Adkinson. Instead of letting states know what their allocation will be for the next week, she said, the federal suppliers will now be setting up a three-week schedule.
Providers requested about 170,000 second doses for the week, DOH said, but the state had an allocation of only 92,325 second doses. The difference, DOH said, is likely is due to providers using doses for first shots that had been intended for the second shot.
Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press briefing Monday that the federal government had announced it will increase its shipments from 11 million doses of vaccines to 13.5 million this week, and it will double, to 2 million, the number being sent to pharmacies, bolstering an added channel for getting the vaccines out.