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Vaccinations, blood donations delayed by severe weather



AUGUSTA, Ga. — Severe weather throughout the U.S. halted vaccinations at two clinics in the CSRA. University Hospital postponed its appointments Thursday so patients would not have to travel in dangerous conditions. The Richmond County Health Department closed its outdoor, drive-thru vaccination site Thursday as well.

“When you do have bad weather or lightning, essentially those operations have to cease,” Dr. Joshua Wyche, AU Health’s Director of Pharmacy, said.

The weather did not stop Augusta University’s efforts. More than 800 people were inoculated at AU’s indoor clinics this week.

However, weather in other parts of the country delayed vaccine shipments. UPS and FedEx rerouted shipments this week as extreme weather battered their shipping headquarters in Louisville and Memphis respectively. AU did not receive all of the doses it ordered for the week.

“Because we didn’t receive those, we didn’t open as many new spots this week if we had gotten that vaccine,” Wyche said.

Weather delays blood collection

As rain poured in Georgia and South Carolina, other states dealt with snow and freezing temperatures. The American Red Cross was forced to cancel blood drives in more than 30 states.

“That comes out to over 15,000 units of blood that have gone uncollected just this week,” Ben Williamson, the Communications Director of The Red Cross Palmetto SC Region, said.

Blood is essential, and the need for it does not take days off. The Red Cross Palmetto SC Region is urging anyone who is able to donate their blood to help hospitals in their states and across the country.

“We’ve had some major storms hit our state,” Williamson explained. “We’ve had people from across the country support and help us. This is a time when we’re able to send some of that love back to our neighbors who are really struggling right now with this weather.”

Augusta University is also accepting blood donations.

While blood supplies locally have not been impacted by the recent severe winter weather, donations are always needed as the pandemic continues to affect supply levels at donation centers and local hospitals. This is also an opportunity for blood donors in the Augusta area to assist those in the Midwest who are experiencing additional supply shortages due to weather. Centers in unaffected areas are prepared to collect donations and share with affected areas.