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Extreme weather blamed for COVID-19 vaccine shipment delays throughout Idaho, eastern Oregon

"The longer it takes the more impact it will have on our region," one Idaho health district said of the delay.

BOISE, Idaho — Severe weather across the nation is causing shipment delays of the COVID-19 vaccine to Idaho, officials announced on Wednesday.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said that Moderna did not ship any COVID-19 vaccine to the state on Monday or Tuesday and Pfizer only shipped a limited amount of vaccine.

The impact of the shipment delays is being seen across the region.

“The weather has impacted us here and across the country, it’s created some shipping delays,” said Sarah Poe, director of Malheur County Health Department.

The health department based in Ontario had been set to receive its biggest shipment of vaccines so far, but the delivery won't happen until next week.

Poe said the CDC told Oregon Health Authority that no Moderna doses were flying out of Memphis, Tennessee en route to Oregon.

Because of the delay, the health department had to cancel a COVID-19 vaccine clinic originally scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18.

RELATED: Vaccine deliveries, distribution hampered by extreme weather

Health districts throughout Idaho are also reporting shipment delays, including Central, Southcentral, Southeastern, and Southwest public health districts. 

“We received a warning yesterday that there are weather-related delays for our vaccine shipment this week," South Central Public Health District in Twin Falls said in a statement. "We informed all of our providers and some have had to cancel or reschedule appointments. We haven’t had to cancel or reschedule any vaccine appointments at SCPHD yet. 

"No word yet on when the next shipment will come in, but the longer it takes the more impact it will have on our region," The health district added. "We have been asking providers to reschedule instead of cancel, whenever possible. This is especially important for second doses."

Southeastern Idaho Public Health said in a statement that due to extreme weather in the southeastern U.S. it will not be receiving this week's vaccine allocation.

"Southeastern Idaho Public Health just received notification that this week's vaccine shipment is delayed due to the extreme weather across the US," the health district said. "Because of this, Southeastern Idaho Public Health must cancel appointments that were scheduled at the Sports and Orthopedic Center on the ISU Campus for February 18th and 19th. Once Southeastern Idaho Public Health receives notification that vaccine is on its way, SIPH will contact individuals to reschedule their appointments." 

The arrival of any vaccine shipments heavily depends on the weather. Poe is still confident that a one-week delay won't have a major impact on the vaccine rollout.

“It’s not going to set us back too far," she said. "I think that everybody really wants more doses than they have allocated right now, we have the capacity to vaccinate a lot more people and honestly, I think Malheur county is one of the easier places to get a vaccine in our nation right now.”

Malheur County's clinic - initially scheduled for Thursday - was for people receiving their first dose. Poe said that the shipment delay will not impact people still needing their second dose.

The next first-dose vaccine clinic will take place on Thursday, Feb. 25, at Four Rivers Cultural Center beginning at 1 p.m.

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