COVID-19 vaccines delayed by winter storms, shortages force clinics to close

Severe winter weather is being blamed for a massive shortage of COVID-19 vaccinations including in Washington state. Clinics were forced to postpone inoculations across Puget Sound scheduled for Friday through Monday.

Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue was one of the few clinics administering doses Friday, saying 1,100 patients were scheduled to receive a dose. A lucky few managed to get vaccines in King County yesterday, but those with appointments for today were out of luck. 

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

For some who are qualified to receive the vaccine, getting the medicine can sometimes be a challenge.

One Eastside grandmother got her second dose Friday as her daughter helped coordinate the effort all the way from Arizona.

"My mom again doesn’t have a computer," said Kim Brewer. "It was really up to me or somebody else to figure that out for her."

Delays meant vaccination clinics in King County had to be postponed through Monday. County officials said the delays would also push back scheduling for those seeking the first of two COVID-19 vaccine injections.

Related: Gov. Inslee signs COVID-19 relief spending bill distributing $2.2 billion in federal aid

"We’ve been clamoring because we know we have more delivery capacity than we have supply,"  said Dr. Jeff Duchin, county health officer with Public Health of Seattle and king county

King County health officials said bad weather delayed delivery of the vaccines, forcing clinics in both Kent and Auburn with Friday appointments to cancel.

But, Duchin said the delay should not last long.

Related: City of Seattle prioritizing vaccines for Latino elders as data shows disproportionate impact

"In the next couple of weeks, we are expecting to have increased supplies and that should make things easier and improving our appointment process," said Duchin.

As hospitalization and death rates are on the decline in our state, health officials say everyone should continue distancing to keep a potential 4th wave from spiking.

For Brewer and her family, today’s second dose means her 84-year-old mother can get closer to what was once normal.

"It’s just a huge relief to know my mom got her second vaccine. It’s going to allow her to go to the grocery store again and just getting out more than she has," said Brewer.