Low supply, snow force Montco to reschedule mass vaccination clinics

Licensed practical nurse Starlette Sumpter administers COVID-19 vaccinations at a clinic at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Licensed practical nurse Starlette Sumpter administers COVID-19 vaccinations at a clinic at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Ask us about COVID-19: What questions do you have about the current surge?

Mass vaccination events in Montgomery County have been delayed because of winter storms across the U.S., and a shortage of vaccine supply.

The county has closed its first dose clinic at Norristown Area High School, which was originally scheduled to take place this Thursday and Friday.

Its second dose clinic at the Montgomery County Community College will be canceled on Thursday, and delays are possible on Friday depending on the weather.

People who have appointments at these events will be rescheduled automatically for makeup appointments on Monday and Tuesday. They will be notified with two emails: one providing a new appointment and another containing a notification that the original appointment was canceled.

Montgomery County has received a total of 26,400 doses and has administered 24,063 first doses into the arms of its residents.

About 151,000 county residents over the age of 65 have yet to be vaccinated. Another 100,000 county residents with serious medical conditions, and more than 5,000 health care workers, are also waiting for their shots.

However, more than 70,000 Montgomery County residents have received their first dose, and more than 24,000 have been fully vaccinated.

“The amount of vaccines we have is dramatically less than the number of people who want it,” said Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

“While our eligibility is quite large, we are getting tiny amounts of vaccine into the county each week. So it’s going to take some time until we are able to reach all of you who are patiently waiting for your turn.”

The county also is addressing “line jumpers” after discovering individuals were sharing appointment links with friends and family. The county this week began issuing single-use tokens for individuals booking appointments.

There were 940 new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery County over a one-week period, which brings the total number of cases in the county to 45,372. Fifteen county residents lost their lives to the coronavirus during this period, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,181.

The county’s positivity rate is on the decline, however. Its 14-day average positivity rate is 6.7% as of Feb. 11, compared with 7.5% as of Feb. 4. A positivity rate below 5% is considered suppression of the virus.

Hospitalizations remain high in Montgomery County but have improved since last Wednesday. On Wednesday, 162 individuals were hospitalized in the county, compared to 239 one week ago.

Those with questions about COVID-19 or the vaccine can call 833-875-3967 Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or email covid19@montcopa.org. The hotline and the email address are not for appointments. Next week, the county will launch a phone line that residents can use to pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

People who have pre-registered for the COVID-19 vaccine can find out where they are in line on the county’s website by clicking on the vaccine button at the top of the page.

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