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SHIPPING DELAYS: Rochester deals with missing shipments, waiting game

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- All eyes are on Texas. The extreme weather seen across the country is impacting vaccine distribution here in Minnesota.

Friday, the city announced permanent vaccine clinic at the Mayo Civic Center will not be opened this weekend as it waits for more doses. Those who had an appointment scheduled for this weekend have been notified and will be rescheduled once there are more doses in the Med City.

A stall in doses is happening at other vaccine sites, too. And the waiting list for a COVID-19 vaccine is long.

"We've got 18 hundred people on our waiting list. So, there's definitely a lot more need than there is vaccine available," Hunt's Silver Lake Drug owner and pharmacist Philip Hommerding said.

As of Friday, their supply is dry. Hommerding says the drug store typically receives 200 to 300 doses weekly. But this past week, those doses didn't come.

"This is what we went through yesterday," he said, holding up an empty Moderna box.

Like the Mayo Civic Center, it's the inclement weather that lead to a missing shipment.

"It is interesting that, you know, freezing weather and everything influenced our availability to vaccine," Hommerding said. "But, it sure did."

Hommerding says customers have been understanding about the lack of doses this week with everything that has been happening in the south. While it would be nice, he doesn't know if his pharmacy will receive double doses next week to make up for lost doses this week.

While Hunt's Pharmacy hasn't received vaccine doses this week, Rochester Community Pharmacy (RPC) hasn't received any doses whatsoever. Pharmacists are told it's just bad luck. They're hoping to receive doses next week, but can't be sure. Until then, RPC is playing the waiting game.

Ken Dewan is familiar with that game. After rolling up his sleeve at Willow Creek's Pilot Vaccine Site, his second dose didn't make it.

"I got the first dose...21 days ago," Dewan said. "I was supposed to get the second dose yesterday. But with all of the bad weather down south, the Pfizer shipment didn't arrive."

Dewan said his wife got her first vaccine dose a week before him and was able to get her second dose before the bad weather hit. He was alerted by text message that he his second shot was postponed -- and that he would be contacted within 48 hours.

"I'm not the only one in this boat," he said. "There are 100s of people waiting for that second dose...Even the Department of Health doesn't know."

Dewan has yet to be contacted.

Beret Leone

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