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Multiple Pa. health systems report zero COVID-19 vaccine doses received this week

Dr. Michael Ripchinski with LGH says many health systems did not receive their requested doses due to winter weather in the South. Appointments could be impacted.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — Vaccine supply is already limited, and some health systems are not receiving their vaccine dose allotment this week. 

"Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital actually requested 5,000 Moderna vaccines this week," said Dr. Michael Ripchinski, Chief Clinical Officer.

However, the hospital in Lancaster received zero doses. Because of the weather, Dr. Ripchinski says the hospital's allotment is stuck in Kentucky.

"Like many providers on the East Coast using UPS and FedEx hubs, they were impacted by the weather this week, and many of us did not get our supply," he added.

The demand for vaccine is already greater than supply.

"That will make it challenging for canceling appointments and scheduling appointments next week as well," explained Dr. Ripchinski.

Can the vaccines get out of Kentucky in time?

"As I understand it because the shipments were delayed in Kentucky, Moderna was making sure the vaccine remained at the temperature it needed to be at so it didn't lose that vaccine," stated Dr. Ripchinski.

The Moderna vaccine remains stable when refrigerated between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 30 days within its 6-month shelf life. It should not be refrozen once thawed.

Video Transcript: Storage and Handling Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine For Healthcare Professionals On-screen text: Storage and Handling Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine For Healthcare Professionals [SPEECH] Let's take a quick look at Storage and Handling of the Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine. But first, please be aware of the following important information about the Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine.

"They're reallocating and rethinking the distribution now, since it's been there for a few days," said Dr. Ripchinski.

What about people scheduled to get their second dose?

"The CDC has allowed up to a six week span for Moderna, so hopefully, within the next two weeks, we can get additional second doses into people's arms," responded Dr. Ripchinski.

FOX43 previously interviewed Dr. Ripchinski.

The lack of allotment comes as Lancaster County Commissioners approve a plan for a mass vaccination site set for Park City Center. They anticipate 6,000 shots to be administered per day once the center is up and running. 

RELATED: Lancaster County's planned mass COVID-19 vaccination site will be located at former Bon-Ton store at Park City Mall, documents say

Penn State Health also reports no vaccine allotment for this week. Barbara Schindo, a spokesperson for the health system, stated in an email to FOX43: "As of this morning, we have not received any shipments of vaccine this week. Based on appointments scheduled, we are projecting that we will run out of vaccine by the end of the day Tuesday (2/23) unless we receive more vaccine between now and then."

Ryan Coyle, a spokesperson for WellSpan Health, wrote in an email to FOX43, "We have received no shipments as of this week, but we also have not received notification that they will be delayed either. Therefore, we are preparing to proceed as if we will not receive shipments and planning accordingly."

A spokeswoman for UPMC reports: "UPMC has received little new vaccine for first doses since the expansion of Phase 1A eligible people in January."

FOX43 is awaiting replies from WellSpan and other health systems in the area.

You can read more about Lancaster General Health here and Penn State Health here.

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Lancaster County commissioners urge residents to keep up with VaccinateLancaster.org. The website has more information on vaccine availability, the latest news related to the vaccine, where people can receive their shots, what to do before and after vaccination, and more information.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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