There will likely be some last-minute cancellations of COVID-19 vaccination appointments in the North Platte area next week, due to shipment delays caused by the record cold weather.

“There is a strong potential there may be some last-minute appointment cancellations due to the lack of vaccine,” Shannon Vanderheiden of the West Central District Health Department said Friday.

Delays in the arrival of Moderna vaccine are occurring across the state and the nation, officials said.

As more information on availability of vaccines arrives, the WCDHD will communicate through media outlets and social media sites.

Vaccine supply issues are occurring nationwide creating issues at distribution sites, said Angie Ling of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

The state did receive two shipments of Pfizer vaccine on Monday, and these doses were used in scheduled clinics, Ling said.

On a brighter note, starting next week, each vial of Pfizer vaccine will count as having six doses instead of five, Ling said, and the weekly allocation for Nebraska is expected to increase for Pfizer and Moderna to more than 18,000 doses each.

Ling said the state is also adjusting the second dose ordering schedule so doses don’t arrive 7-10 days before they can be used, and nearer to the vaccination date, which should ease the local challenge of storing the vaccine before it is administered.

Vanderheiden said all vaccines that the WCDHS receives are administered in 7 days or less. About 3,000 residents of the health district have been vaccinated, or 7.7% of the total.

Also, the risk dial in the health district moved down a little Thursday, from 2.77 to 2.69, due to an increase in available hospital beds, Vanderheiden said. The dial reflects the situation over a three-week period of time.

Test Nebraska postponed

Also, testing through Test NE was postponed on Wednesday. Individuals scheduled should have received an email with a new time for testing by Friday, Feb. 19.

Please do not try to be tested without an appointment.

Also, if you have been exposed to a lab-confirmed case, testing is important but should not be immediate.

Schedule your test 5-7 days after exposure and no sooner, the WCDHD said.  

If exposed to an individual who has a lab-confirmed case of the virus, a 14-day quarantine is recommended.

For more information regarding quarantine, see: https://wcdhd.org/coronavirus/isolation-and-quarantine-calculator.html

To register for testing, visit wcdhd.org and click on “How to contact us/COVID-19.” Or see https://www.testnebraska.com/en.

The hours of operation for WCDHD’s Test NE are 1-2 p.m. Monday and Wednesdays and from noon-1 p.m. on Fridays.