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Healthcare companies prepare for Thursday ice storm, vaccine delays

Forsyth County Department of Public Health, Novant Health, and Wake Forest Baptist Health are all planning for vaccine shipment delays this week.

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Multiple Triad healthcare companies are bracing for the possibility of COVID-19 vaccine shipment delays amid warnings of a second ice event this week. 

Saturday's ice storm was among the worst the Triad has seen in half a decade, WFMY meteorologists said. More than 160,000 people were without power. COVID-19 vaccine operations were interrupted across the area by the severe weather.

Vaccine shipments for this week have already been delayed due to weather conditions, health officials said. Shipments are typically received on Tuesday or Wednesday of each week. At this time, it’s uncertain when they will arrive, the healthcare companies said. This could cause some vaccination appointments to be rescheduled. 

The severe weather threat is projected for Thursday, Feb. 18.

If vaccination sites have to close or appointments have to be rescheduled, each organization will inform the public through their websites, social media and media outlets. They will also each inform their own patients of the changes in their appointments, healthcare officials said.

If severe weather forces rescheduled vaccine appointments, Forsyth County Public Health said it will reschedule those appointments to the following Thursday, Feb. 25.

Novant Health may need to postpone first dose appointments scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18 and Friday, Feb. 19, Novant Health officials said. They expect the second dose vaccination event at St. Peter's Church & World Outreach Center will continue as planned on Saturday, Feb 20.

Wake Forest Baptist Health, meanwhile, has already received its second-dose vaccines for this week. Atrium Health is transferring some first doses to Winston-Salem to help cover the needs for a short time if shipments continue to be delayed due to weather. Patients who have vaccinations scheduled will be notified as soon as possible if appointments need to be rescheduled, WFBH officials said.

Forsyth officials said all three healthcare companies are equipped with backup power to keep the vaccines at the proper temperature for storage in the event of a power outage.

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