No vaccine doses available next week

‘Supply chain issue’ halts vaccine appointments at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Because of a supply issue, the hospital is unable to offer any vaccine appointments for next week. -Jeremy Driesen

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital will not receive an expected shipment of 2,100 vaccines for next week due to a supply chain issue, hospital officials said during an impromptu news briefing Saturday morning.

The hospital has been in constant communication with the state and has been told to expect a supply of vaccine this week. How many doses and when is not clear.

The news came as a surprise to the hospital, as well as the many people 65 and older who are still waiting to make appointments. Individuals with two or more chronic health issues would also be eligible to sign up if the hospital had any doses to dole out. Appointment booking was supposed to open Saturday at 8 am.

“As of 8 am this morning the state could not confirm any doses,” hospital president and CEO Denise Schepici told reporters during Saturday’s conference call.

A notice was posted Saturday that there was not enough supply for the upcoming week. The hospital did have 100 doses in their supply to administer this upcoming week and that is all they could schedule.

As soon as the hospital is notified of vaccine availability, Schepici said she would like to get vaccine sign-up available sooner so people don’t have to wait until next Saturday. But she cautioned about when that would happen.

“I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up until we know that number,” Schepici said.

Those who are scheduled to receive their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine are still scheduled to receive those shots this coming week.

The hospital is still waiting to hear about its supply of Moderna vaccines. If the hospital is unable to administer the second dose of the Moderna vaccines, the hospital will contact those individuals directly by telephone.

Schepici said the hospital was informed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that there was a “supply chain issue” Friday night, and more news would be available Saturday. The hospital waited until Saturday morning because DPH requested the hospital standby in case the situation changed.

“We could have easily gotten a number and we kept hoping that we would,” Schepici said. “Rather than get everyone upset needlessly we were waiting until we had to go live.”

Chief nurse and chief operating officer Claire Seguin said the supply chain issue affected all vaccination sites across the state, such as Nantucket, which also could only fill a small amount of appointments. 

“They’re in the same situation as we are,” Seguin said.

Seguin said the 100 appointments were filled in about four minutes Saturday morning. She added the hospital has kept its call center open and has been answering questions from the public.

People should not expect any notification about appointment availability on Patient Gateway, according to hospital officials

Schepici and Seguin will announce when and if vaccine appointments become available.

Schepici also mentioned there is “light at the end of the tunnel“ with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-vaccine heading toward approval.

“I’d like to reach out and give everybody a big hug. I want to get everyone vaccinated,” Schepici said. “We’re frustrated too, but just be patient… we’re gonna keep this going we just have to deal with our supply issues, but it’s out of our control.”