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Heavy snowfall delays COVID vaccine appointments across Tri-State

Workers clear snow outside a Hamilton County vaccine provider, Feb. 9, 2021.
Posted at 5:05 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 19:31:24-05

Snowfall like what Greater Cincinnati saw overnight Monday into Tuesday had wide-reaching impacts across the region, and the efforts to vaccinate people against the coronavirus were not immune to its effects.

While some COVID-19 vaccine providers were able to keep their appointments uninterrupted Tuesday, others -- like those run by the Hamilton County Health Department -- said they will have to reschedule.

"We had about 450 scheduled today, so it was not ideal," said Greg Kesterman, Hamilton County's health commissioner. "But you know what: We're going to do the best we can with what we're given, and our goal is to get folks vaccinated."

Kesterman said officials were making phone calls as early as 5 a.m. Tuesday in an effort to advise those who had scheduled appointments to stay home.

With the threat of more snow and possibly icy conditions going into Thursday, Kesterman said they would evaluate when the time comes. In the meantime, he's looking to Wednesday to try and make up for lost time.

"So, looking at the weather for tomorrow on Wednesday, we have a couple of large clinics planned, and I think we're going to be okay. Looks like the weather will happen in the evening, and our clinics are during the day," he said.

A UC Health spokesperson told WCPO by email that it closed its vaccine clinic Tuesday due to the weather and was working to reschedule those appointments for Thursday or Saturday.

Other vaccine providers, like St. Elizabeth Hospitals in Northern Kentucky, said they were able to weather the storm.

"We are open for business," said hospital spokesman, Guy Karrick, adding that the network only had six cancellations. "We are reaching out individually with those folks to reschedule."

Karrick said St. Elizabeth does not anticipate the next round of snow will disrupt efforts later this week, with the caveat that the forecast could change.

"We plan to remain open for Thursday, too, but you have to take the weather each day as it occurs," he said.

Dearborn County Public Health and Clermont County asked some Tuesday morning appointment holders to postpone until the afternoon.

Other clinics, including Cincinnati Public Health, the city of Springdale, Butler County Public Health, Bon Secours Mercy Health, TriHealth, and Kroger's Little Clinics, told WCPO they did not have any appointments scheduled for Tuesday.

The Council on Aging of Southwest Ohio said they were working with seniors who had arranged transportation to now-canceled appointments to make future arrangements.

"This kind of stuff keeps us on our toes for sure! And it makes for a lot of anxious older adults," said communications manager, Paula Smith.

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Senior Reporter Larry Seward is focusing his reporting on the COVID-19 vaccine to bring you answers and information. Contact Larry at 513-667-4804 or larry.seward@wcpo.com.