MONTEREY, Calif. (KION-TV)
Hundreds of people in San Benito County and Santa Cruz County could potentially have to wait to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine due to a delay in supply shipment caused by a powerful winter storm throughout much of the U.S.
Across the Central Coast, health officials are trying to come up with solutions.
“Right now we’re looking at ways to kind of shift around and go maybe substitute some Pfizer doses for Moderna here and there," says Doctor David Ghilarducci.
Doctor David Ghilarducci is the Health Officer for San Benito County and Deputy Health Officer in Santa Cruz.
Doctor Ghilarducci says first dose vaccinations for about 100 people scheduled for a Wednesday afternoon clinic was cancelled - the only impacted clinic so far.
Remaining doses are being used for those who already had their first shot.
In Santa Cruz, no clinics have been cancelled, but Doctor Ghilarducci says things are still uncertain.
“In Santa Cruz County right now, nobody’s been impacted, but there’s a chance that we may have to cancel one or two tomorrow for the rest of the week until we know when that vaccine’s going to arrive," says Ghilarducci.
"We'll probably know more tomorrow about whether we can shuffle vaccine around and hopefully we can keep all of our first dose clinics."
Monterey County is playing it safe, telling KION clinics are not scheduled until the vaccine is in their hands, meaning delayed doses do not affect already booked clinics.
“If an organization has vaccine available in their inventory and that vaccine was intended for first doses, if they wish, they can use that vaccine," says Doctor Edward Moreno, Monterey County Director of Public Health.
Doctor Ghilarducci says San Benito and Santa Cruz County are prioritizing second dose vaccines until the next supply for first doses arrives.
Starting Wednesday, people 65 and older in at risk zip codes and eligible business sectors are prioritized in Monterey County.
These groups may have to wait longer for their vaccines if their providers don't get their planned supply.
Since the delay is weather related, health officials say the wait is temporary.
Health officials will put the word out to the public once more vaccine supply arrives.