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Supply chain issues create havoc with New York’s updated COVID vaccine rollout

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

New Yorkers seeking the latest COVID-19 vaccines are experiencing delays and cancellations at several pharmacies due to supply chain hold-ups. Locations of prominent chains such as Walgreens and Wegmans have reportedly either run out of supplies or are yet to receive them, causing inconvenience for individuals eager to get the updated vaccines. However, quantifying the exact scale of the supply chain challenges is challenging, as the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is now managed by drug manufacturers, following the expiration of the government’s pandemic emergency declarations last spring.

In response to the delays, Walgreens acknowledged isolated instances of supply delays at a few locations and has had to reschedule appointments. Despite the hiccup, the company asserts that most of their stores in New York are now well-stocked and can honor existing vaccination appointments, with more slots opening up as additional supplies arrive. On the other hand, Pfizer, a manufacturer of the updated COVID-19 vaccine, refutes any supply shortages, committing to shipping out millions of doses weekly.

These supply setbacks amplify existing frustrations, as earlier delays in health insurance coverage for the new vaccines resulted in some residents paying substantial out-of-pocket costs or rescheduling their appointments. While health plans assert that those coverage delays have been resolved, concerns persist about the potential for limited adoption of the new vaccines amidst rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, especially since federal regulators have recently recommended the updated vaccine for individuals as young as six months.