Weather causes cancellations, delays for Muscogee County vaccination clinics

Updated: Mar. 26, 2021 at 9:37 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Roughly 1,500 people who were scheduled to receive their second dose of Moderna’s vaccine through the Department of Public Health’s vaccination clinic at Peachtree Mall Friday experienced some confusion and frustration after it was canceled due to the weather.

Thunder, lightning and rain are all a recipe for disaster when trying to administer vaccines in a wide-open parking lot.

“Severe weather was pretty much forecasted to happen all week on Friday,” said Columbus resident Sandra Klause.

Klause is one of the 1,500 area residents who was scheduled to receive her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Peachtree Mall Friday.

She has been looking forward to this moment for weeks, but the clinic was canceled a couple of hours after starting up.

“The mayor’s office notified me and we immediately came over here,” Klause said.

The Department of Public Health already thawed out roughly 200 doses of the vaccine prior to canceling the clinic. To not let any go to waste, health officials made the call to administer them at the Columbus Health Department which drew quite a crowd.

“I believe we gave about 300 doses before we had to cancel,” said Pamela Kirkland with the Columbus Health Department.

Five miles south of the health department, GEMA also experiencing some issues due to the weather, according to Jason Ritter, GEMA’s Columbus on-site coordinator.

“We did have to shut down earlier today for about an hour for a lightning delay.”

Cars were backed up for nearly a mile outside of the entrance to GEMA’s site. Ritter says he and staff turned away at least 200 people who were supposed to get their second doses at Peachtree Mall Friday because at their site they only use Pfizer.

Two different vaccines cannot be intermixed.

“At the end of the day, regardless of the circumstances, the governor’s orders are we are going to get people vaccinated if we are in a parking lot or a hospital,” Ritter said.

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