Orange County health officials were forced to close a large-scale inoculation center until at least February 22 due to a delay in shipping the COVID-19 vaccine.
The slowdown was triggered by a massive winter storm that hit the US from February 13-17, delaying the shipment of Moderna vaccine to California.
Without its last batch of doses, Orange County temporarily closed its Disneyland Super Point of Distribution (POD) due to a lack of supply.
« Without the shipment arriving on Monday, we essentially ran out of the Moderna vaccine, » Supervisor Lisa Bartlett told The Epoch Times. « It’s not a significant setback, but every day that we do not vaccinate Orange County residents is a definite setback and a disappointment to everyone. »
Disneyland’s super POD immunizes patients with the Moderna vaccine, while the Soka County University’s super POD in Aliso Viejo uses Pfizer.
The county received about 16,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on February 18, Bartlett said.
If the Moderna vaccine is delayed beyond Feb.22, health officials would likely have to focus solely on vaccinating people who need their second injection, as many people are getting closer to the time when they will need their second dose, he said. Bartlett.
« Our goal is to never waste a dose of vaccine, » he said.
The supervisor also noted that if the vaccines are in transit or are still stuck in manufacturing plants due to inclement weather, there is a low risk that they will be compromised.
« If they can’t even leave the manufacturing plant, they are safely stored on site, » he said. « Once the product is ready for transport, it is in a protected situation where it is at the proper refrigeration temperatures. »
Supervisor Doug Chaffee told The Epoch Times that people who have received their first injection need not worry about getting their booster shot.
« We will still be able to give the second chance in time, once we receive the expected supplies, » he said on February 19. « So it’s a matter of postponement, people are disappointed … but we’re trying to contact them and get them a new appointment in a timely manner. »
Disneyland is not the only site that could be affected; The Anaheim Convention Center site, which was scheduled to open on February 24, may also be delayed depending on when Moderna vaccines arrive.
Additionally, Santa Ana College will be temporarily closed on February 20 and will remain closed until an additional supply of vaccines arrives from Pfizer.
Soka University will remain open for second injections for the time being based on vaccine supply, Chaffee said, adding that there is slightly more to Pfizer’s vaccine supply than Moderna.
« We keep our mobile PODs up and running, they don’t absorb much of the supply, » said Chaffee. “And they are reaching some of the worst affected areas that we need to reach. A typical mobile POD will only do 500 shots a day, so let’s continue with those. The biggest sites that can do thousands should be postponed until we get more vaccines.
Residents who were scheduled to receive their vaccination at a now closed site can reschedule their appointments through Othena, the county’s vaccination app and website.