SYCAMORE - COVID-19 vaccine clinics scheduled this week for Sycamore District 427 educators have been canceled due to the winter weather delaying vaccine delivery, confirmed Lisa Gonzalez, public administrator for the DeKalb County Health Department.
A 2 p.m. announcement from District 427′s official Facebook page cited the clinic was canceled due to supply shortages, but Gonzalez stated that wasn’t the case in this instance.
“It’s not due to supply shortages, it’s due to shipment delays because of the weather nationwide,” Gonzalez said. “Our second dose allocations have not been impacted [due to the shortages].”
A clinic for educators to receive their second dose of the vaccine was previously scheduled for Thursday. But unlike first dose appointments canceled due to shortages, this second dose clinic will still happen, just next week instead of this week, Gonzalez said.
In a message sent to District 427, DeKalb County health officials said the clinic scheduled for educators to receive their second dose was canceled due to “severe weather,” and that appointments were moved to “next week on the same day and same time you were signed up for.”
The district posted an announcement Wednesday afternoon.
“We were notified this morning by the DeKalb County Health Department (DCHD) that this week’s vaccine clinics for our staff have been canceled,” the announcement on the district’s official social media page reads.
That means Thursday, which had previously been scheduled full remote learning days to accommodate the vaccine clinics, will instead return to the regular hybrid in-person learning schedule.
The appointments have been rescheduled to next week, according to the post, and as a result the district will have ‘asynchronous’ or full remote learning days on Thursday, Feb. 25 and Friday, Feb. 26.
“Hybrid-B students will attend school in-person tomorrow, Thursday, February 18,” the post reads. “And all students will participate in remote learning as normal on Friday, February 19.”
Wilder previously said having two days without in-person teaching will help teachers and staff access the vaccine and recover from any side effects they may experience.
Gonzalez said health officials are dealing with two separate issues right now: supply shortages announced last week, which have forced the state to prioritize second dose allocations over first doses only, and winter weather delaying those needed second dose shipments.
“Those vaccine supplies for the second doses are stable, they’re just delayed because of weather,” Gonzalez said.
The amount of second dose allocations coming due across the state necessitates prioritizing those over first doses, Gonzalez said state health officials told her.
The update Wednesday comes after days of uncertainty and announcements from local and state health officials amid continued vaccine shortages, with health officials citing a nationwide supply shortfall. That’s on top of ongoing announcements from Gov. JB Pritzker’s office that mass vaccination clinics would be opening in central and southern Illinois, and eligibility for vaccinations in Phase 1B of the state’s rollout would expand to those under 65 with high-risk health conditions.
Nearly 1,800 educators across DeKalb County schools have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine so far, according to an update from DeKalb District 428 officials Tuesday. Local allotment delivered to the county health department, however, which has overseen school clinics and distributed vaccine to Northwestern Medicine health system has dropped from 1,200 doses weekly to just between 200 and 300 for the next three weeks. Local health officials have said as a result, subsequent clinics will be impacted, with a need to prioritize second doses for those promised such when they received their first shot.
Doses are expected to be significantly reduced over the next three weeks locally at least, as the DeKalb County Health Department announced late Friday its weekly allotment would be slashed by 75%. The state health department then announced Sunday second doses would be prioritized over first doses statewide until March, citing a statewide vaccine shortage. On Tuesday, the state also announced winter weather was delaying some federal vaccine deliveries.
No specific reasons have been given by state officials as to why these reductions are happening right now, or why DeKalb County’s local allotment has been slashed specifically.
“We thank you for your continued flexibility during this process,” the Sycamore school district post states. “We know how hard it is to deviate from our normal calendar, and then to change back. The Health Department is at the mercy of the IDPH and the State of Illinois regarding vaccine allocations. Thank you for your patience and your grace, we’ll continue to work with the DCHD on upcoming vaccine clinics and the impact on our calendar.”
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with additional comment from local health officials clarifying why this week’s educator clinics in Sycamore were canceled, with clarifying information contrary to what was previously publicly announced by the Sycamore School District.