2,300 COVID-19 vaccine appointments in Austin canceled because of winter weather danger

Ryan Autullo
Austin American-Statesman

Austin Public Health has canceled about 2,300 COVID-19 vaccine appointments scheduled for Saturday because of the extreme cold and hazardous roads.

The health authority says it will be in touch with pending vaccine recipients to reschedule appointments for next week.

All of the canceled appointments were for second doses of the vaccine for people who had received their first dose between Jan. 11 and Jan. 16. The cancellations will not have have a negative effect on vaccinations because second shots can come between 28 and 42 days after a first shot and Saturday's appointments were on the low end of that range.

All three vaccine clinics operated by APH are closed for the day.

A new appointment will be sent out via email or phone later in the week.

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“We know this is frustrating and disappointing,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim public health authority for Austin-Travis County. “The health and safety of our residents is our top priority and we want to ensure that we do not put people in harm’s way while protecting them from COVID-19.”

Austin Public Health officials in a written statement Friday said if the agency does have to cancel appointments, no vaccines will go to waste. Instead, they will be used for patients next week. 

Health officials plan to unfreeze doses right before someone's scheduled appointment in the coming days to ensure it will be used, Austin Public Health officials said.

A winter storm warning is in effect until noon Monday for the Austin metro area, including Travis, Hays, Williamson, Bastrop and Caldwell counties, the National Weather Service says.

Forecasters expect light accumulations of ice of up to a quarter-inch on exposed frozen surfaces, including trees, power lines and roads, especially overpasses and bridges. Freezing drizzle is already falling and sleet is possible later in the day and at night.

People wait in the cold rain for a COVID-19 vaccine from Austin Public Health at Delco Activity Center on Thursday. APH officials canceled appointments for Saturday because of dangerous weather conditions.