LOS ANGELES - Thousands of vaccine appointments in the city of Los Angeles were postponed for Friday and Saturday due to delivery delays caused by severe winter storms across the country, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced.
"Severe weather across the country has disrupted travel and shipping nationwide, including delaying the delivery of our vaccines," Garcetti said. "Our City is ready to administer COVID-19 vaccines swiftly, safely, and equitably — and as soon as doses arrive in Los Angeles, we will get them into people’s arms immediately."
According to Garcetti's office, approximately 12,500 patients will receive a notice by text, e-mail, or phone that their appointment is postponed. Those appointments will be automatically rescheduled. Once the city confirms the arrival of a new shipment of doses in the days ahead, all patients who missed their appointment will be prioritized and receive a notification with details for their new automatically rescheduled appointment.
"We are collaborating closely with the City of Los Angeles to ensure the vaccination distribution process is as smooth as possible," said, Dr. Sujal Mandavia, Chief Medical Officer of Carbon Health. "Second dose appointments will be prioritized, and it is our intent to administer those second doses within the CDC-recommended timeframe of 42 days after the first dose."
"We are in a race against time. A race between infections and injections. And anything that slows down our progress is unacceptable. Let me be clear, this is not a reflection on how fast we can get vaccines in the arms of Angelenos, our infrastructure here in Los Angeles, as it has been for testing and so much more, is among the most efficient in this country and in the world," Garcetti stated.
This announcement only affects the city of Los Angeles' large-scale vaccination sites. Vaccinations from the city’s mobile clinics will continue as planned.
Mayor Garcetti says he is expanding the city’s mobile clinics to get them into the hardest hit communities. The city is now launching a new initiative called Mobile Outreach for Vaccine Equity, or MOVE, to scale up mobile vaccinations across vulnerable areas of L.A. It will put 10 mobile vaccination teams in the field by the end of next month.
Harsh weather conditions nationwide have held up two separate shipments: 26,000 doses, previously set to arrive on Tuesday, are currently in Kentucky; another 37,000, intended for next week’s appointments, are in Tennessee. Grounded flights and icy roads have prevented delivery of these and other vaccine shipments across the country.
Garcetti and his team will continue to monitor the situation.
Prior to running out of vaccines, the city received only 16,000 new doses for the week, while it was administering an average of 13,051 doses per day.
The city's vaccination sites have administered 336,088 doses and used 96% of the city's total vaccine supply. Meanwhile, Garcetti says so far the city has conducted more COVID-19 tests than there are people in the city, with more than 4 million tests done so far.
The mayor also announced that beginning next week, appointments will no longer be needed in order to get a COVID-19 test at a city-run site. People can show up at a site with their ID and/or insurance information Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments are still available online to those who want to plan in advance.
FOX 11’s Alexi Chidbachian contributed to this report.