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caption: “This is very surreal," said Elaine Huang, Director of Pharmacy at Harborview Medical Center. "The fact that we have vaccines on hand now is really for us a moment of hope." Doctors, nurses and a security officer were among the first Harborview employees to get the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on the first day of Harborview's vaccination clinic for employees on Thursday, December 17, 2020, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
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“This is very surreal," said Elaine Huang, Director of Pharmacy at Harborview Medical Center. "The fact that we have vaccines on hand now is really for us a moment of hope." Doctors, nurses and a security officer were among the first Harborview employees to get the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on the first day of Harborview's vaccination clinic for employees on Thursday, December 17, 2020, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Winter storm causes vaccine shipment delays for Washington state

Some people who are booked for Covid vaccine shots this week are having to reschedule.

That's thanks to the ongoing polar vortex, which is disrupting everyday life in various parts of the country. It's also causing delays in shipping vaccines.

Washington state was expecting to receive 200,000 doses this week. But the Health Department’s Michele Roberts said the bulk of those doses won’t arrive as scheduled.

“We’re in a holding pattern until the weather on the East Coast lightens up and vaccines ship out.”

The delay has forced the state to close the vaccination site for Benton and Franklin counties through the weekend.

When the doses do arrive, Roberts said they hope to use them appropriately and as fast as they can. The state’s mass vaccination sites will prioritize people needing second doses.

“This is to insure the best protection for our community,” Roberts said.

State health officials are encouraged that federal supply is increasing. But so far, they’re not close to what providers are requesting.

The state reached a milestone last week when it gave its one millionth dose. On average, the state has been vaccinating more than 26,000 people each day.