High demand for new COVID-19 vaccine creating issues

High demand for new COVID-19 vaccine creating issues
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 5:47 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The rollout of the latest COVID-19 vaccines has caused some issues across the United States.

Between delays and cancellations, some central Kentucky health departments have felt the impact.

“We’ve been bombarded with phone calls, and I think this new wave or shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine is going to be a little more difficult to navigate.” Cassie Prather, Public Health Director at the Woodford County Health Department, said.

Prather says they already ordered the COVID-19 vaccines. They were supposed to arrive by the end of September, now they hope they arrive by the middle of October.

“Typically, when we get that tracking number, it’s within 24 hours. They do get those shipped to us pretty quickly. We heard it will probably be the middle of October before we can expect those, but the order has been placed.” Prather said.

She says once they receive their shipment, they’ll be giving the vaccines to those who are uninsured or underinsured.

In Lexington, UK Pharmacy Services received those vaccines last week.

“We have had such a high demand over the last week. We started last Thursday, and to give some perspective, we’ve already exceeded the amount of COVID-19 vaccines we gave the first three weeks of last year of the new bi-valent dose when that was released. We exceeded that number in just the first 3 days.” James Hallahan, Physician Associate Director for UK Pharmacy Operations, said.

Now, just like other healthcare institutions, they’re running into shipment delays for other orders.

“So, we’re low in stock for a lot of our retail division pharmacies, but we do expect that shipment to arrive tomorrow. " Hallahan said.

Hallahan said when these products are in such high demand, these delays tend to happen.

“I think once we get our feet on the ground, not just us but wholesalers and manufacturers, it will be pretty smooth sailing throughout the rest of the season,” Hallahan said.

Both Hallahan and Prather say one of their goals is to make the vaccine easily accessible. There are different programs in place that will allow coverage for those who are underinsured or not insured at all.

“Specifically, our Fountain Court location is able to provide vaccines through the states funding and grants for ‘VFC’ and 317 programs to those who qualified,” Hallahan said.

Prather adds that she’s heard of appointments being canceled because of insurance issues, so she says that it’s important to plan ahead before going for your appointment.

“My advice is, before you make an appointment, call your provider or pharmacy and make sure you’re eligible and that they do have the vaccine.”

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department says they anticipated having the latest vaccines by the end of September, and they say that remains on schedule.