Winter weather delays 90% of COVID vaccine doses to Washington this week

Washington state health officials said Thursday they expect 90% of about 200,000 vaccine doses to arrive late because of winter storms elsewhere in the nation.

"More than 90% of the vaccine that was going to come in, or 200,000 doses have been delayed," said Michele Roberts, the state Department of Health’s acting assistant secretary. "So this means that starting hopefully this weekend and into next week, we’ll have a lot of vaccine in the state – both this week’s vaccine and next week’s vaccine coming in."

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Similar delays across the country are slowing the vaccination effort.

Officials said Moderna vaccines have not yet shipped this week and Pfizer vaccines did not ship Monday, and only a small number of vaccines were shipped Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mass vaccination site closures

Large COVID-19 vaccination sites in Spokane and Kennewick will be closed through the weekend because of weather delays in vaccine shipments.

People with appointments should check their email for information on how to reschedule.

The mass vaccination site in Ridgefield will be closed Saturday but no appointments had been made for that date.

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Officials may consider opening extra lanes at mass vaccination sites to catch up when the vaccine eventually arrives, Roberts said.

King County Public Health officials said the delay in shipments is also forcing them to cancel appointments after Friday, Feb. 19 after 4 p.m. at vaccination clinics in Kent and Auburn. Those impacted will be called to reschedule.

On Friday, Virginia Mason announced they will reopen vaccinations at the Amazon Meeting Center clinic for people to receive their second dose only. Appointments will be available this weekend from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. and must be made through Virginia Mason's website. Hospital officials say the short delay in vaccinations will not affect the vaccine's efficacy.


1.2 million doses given

As of Monday, more than 1.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given across Washington state. That is about 83% of the 1.45 million doses that have been delivered to health care providers.

The state is averaging about 26,204 vaccine doses being given each day, according to officials.

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The Department of Health told Q13 News it was too soon to know when next week's doses would arrive because it was weather-dependent.

Officials expect a large amount of vaccine to arrive within a small window next week which will allow pharmacies and health care providers to open up more appointments for those who are currently eligible.

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The amount of doses is expected to increase gradually over the next three weeks, according to a forecast from the state:

  • Week of February 21: 263,570 total doses (146,110 first doses, 117,460 second doses)
  • Week of February 28: 269,270 total doses (146,110 first doses, 123,160 second doses)
  • Week of March 7: 292,220 total doses (146,110 first doses, 146,110 second doses)

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.