Severe winter weather across the nation has impacted COVID-19 shipments, creating a cascade effect being felt in Halifax County.
Distribution channels in the Midwest and other areas of the United State hit hard by powerful snow and ice storms are currently shut down, said Brookie Crawford, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Health.
With the nationwide shipments impacted, that means Virginia will see a delay in about 106,800 doses of the vaccine.
Locally, Halifax Pharmacy announced Friday its shipment for this week has been delayed.
“Because of this, we will not be able to make any appointments this coming Tuesday,” the pharmacy wrote on Facebook.
They plan to resume making appointments March 2.
“Thank you for your patience as we work through the vaccination process together,” the Facebook post said.
The local pharmacy has administered hundreds of doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine so far.
On Feb. 9, a line of people waiting for an appointment to get their shots wrapped around the building.
“I only book appointments for vaccines I have received in house, so if you make an appointment, you’re getting the vaccine,” Halifax Pharmacy owner and head pharmacist Stephen Anderson said earlier this month. “We’re trying to get as many people registered as we can and give the vaccine to as many people as we can.”
As of Saturday, 1,053 Halifax County residents were considered fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received two doses of the COVID-19 shot, according to health department data. A total of 4,622 total doses have been administered.
Virginia is still in what it calls Phase 1b of its vaccination plan. That phase includes select essential employees, teachers and residents 65 and older.
While vaccine allotments have increased in recent weeks, the demand far outpaces current supply.
Crawford estimates Virginia likely won’t meet the demand for Phase 1b until March or April.
Neighboring Pittsylvania-Danville Health District conducted a clinic Saturday for the second round of COVID-19 vaccines at Averett University. More than 1,000 people rolled up their sleeves to receive another dose of the vaccine.
The clinic was only for those who received their first dose there in January.
“We have spent the last four weeks focused on providing first doses to those at highest risk of contracting COVID-19, and of experiencing more serious effects of illness,” said Scott Spillmann, director of both the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District and the Southside Health District, which includes Halifax County.
Those eligible for vaccine in Phases 1a and 1b can pre-register at the state health department’s new consolidated website at www.vaccinate.virginia.gov or call the state’s new COVID Vaccine Hotline at 1-877-VAX-IN-VA.
Those who pre-registered previously at one of the local portals will automatically be merged into the new database. It is not necessary to register again, officials said.
Residents may check and confirm status at www.vaccinate.virginia.gov. However, officials noted the data merger will continue this week, so it’s possible some information may not be available. They advise residents to try again in a few days.
The pre-registration process does not make an appointment. It instead collects all of the data the health department needs. When a vaccine is available, the health department will reach out to individuals to make an appointment at what it calls point of dispensing events. These events are not open to the public.
“Vaccine demand is extraordinarily high and supplies remain significantly limited,” said Spillmann. “Please be patient. You will be contacted as soon as possible to schedule an appointment. Please do not pre-register multiple times.”