Thousands of Vaccine Appointments Canceled as Supply Lags

Doctors in Peru are staging a hunger strike to protest a lack of pandemic equipment. As Biden and Harris were sworn at the Capitol, masks were the order of the day. Crowds weren’t.

That Covid-19 vaccine appointment may not just be hard to get — it may not even be all that secure.


Thousands of people across the country learned that their appointments had been abruptly canceled in the last few days, after vaccine shipments to local health departments and other distributors fell short of what was expected.


The health department in Erie County, N.Y., which includes Buffalo, canceled seven days of appointments this week, affecting 8,010 people, saying the state had sent far fewer doses than the county ordered. All future appointments should be considered “tentative, and are subject to vaccine availability,” the department said in a statement on Wednesday.


“We made appointments based on our hope and expectation that we would be able to fill those,” said Kara Kane, a department spokesperson. “There’s a lot of confusion, a lot of questions, a lot of concern.”


Dianne Bennett, 78, lost her first-dose appointment at the Erie County Medical Center because of the cancellations, and so did her husband. They were told to try again later, but Ms. Bennett said they had no idea when another appointment will be available.


“It’s such a lottery,” she said. “I just think it’s outrageous.”


Similar issues have cropped up across the country, as demand far outpaces supply and vaccine providers struggle to predict how many doses will actually arrive.


At Beaufort Memorial Hospital in South Carolina, hospital officials canceled 6,000 scheduled appointments through March 30 after they were notified that thousands of vaccine doses they expected were not coming.


San Francisco’s public health department expects to run out of vaccine on Thursday, The Los Angeles Times reported, because the city’s allocation dropped sharply from a week ago and the state did not replace doses that had to be discarded.


Local health officials throughout California say they have trouble scheduling appointments because they are unsure how much vaccine they will receive from week to week, the paper said.


In New York City, 23,000 vaccination appointments scheduled for Thursday and Friday were postponed because of a shipping delay, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, a day after warning that the city’s supply would soon be exhausted.


“We already were feeling the stress of a shortage of vaccine,” the mayor said at a news conference. “Now the situation has been made even worse.”


Recent moves to open up eligibility have aggravated the situation.


After the state of Georgia announced that anyone 65 or older could get the vaccine, the 10-county Northwest Health District was swamped with more than 10,000 appointment requests in one weekend — far more than it could satisfy with the supply it had on hand. So it shut down its scheduling website, and told people to call their local health department to arrange an appointment instead, frustrating many people who thought they had already secured a slot.


“We’re having to schedule appointments at least a week out, based on anticipated delivery, but we don’t know what will show up on a daily basis,” said Logan Boss, the spokesman for the health district. “It’s difficult to explain that to the public.”


— Lucy Tompkins

Source: Thousands of Vaccine Appointments Canceled as Supply Lags – The New York Times (