Shortages Slow Vaccine Deployment

County receives just a third of anticipated supply

The nationwide shortage of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine is trickling down to Door County, making a complicated logistical endeavor even more difficult. 

Door County Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach said his department received about a third of the vaccine doses it was expecting this week. That meant that department staff had to notify more than 200 people that their appointments would be canceled. 

“We made plans hoping we’d get what we asked for, and we did get what we asked for the first two rounds,” Krebsbach said. “But at the state level, they’re dealing with a supply-and-demand problem as well. The requests got larger, but the supply didn’t go up.”

The county places its weekly vaccine order on Tuesday. On Saturday they are notified how many doses they will receive for the following week. 

Public Health scheduled vaccinations based on its projected ability to process people and how many doses it expected to receive. 

“It is our goal to prevent the waste of even a single dose of vaccine,” Krebsbach said. “With that in mind, we schedule based on what we estimate we will get in vaccine doses, how many vaccinations we can provide in a given block of time, staffing ability and the community’s needs.”

Individuals with scheduled appointments that need to be canceled will receive an email regarding the cancellation and wait-listing of their appointments. 

“We will contact those individuals to reschedule when we have more appointment slots available,” Krebsbach said. 

People are free to obtain their vaccination from a different provider, but they’re asked to notify Public Health to be removed from its list.

The department is operating three vaccination clinics each week with the help of a volunteer group, Public Health staff and Emergency Services personnel. 

“We filled 1,000 appointments in a couple days,” Krebsbach said. “People understand that this is a project. For right now, those scheduled this week will be put on a wait list.”

Krebsbach said the shortages will not affect second doses for those who have already received their first dose because the state has held those doses in reserve to ship when needed.

Krebsbach said the task of administering the vaccinations has come down with little support or direction. 

“We’re given instructions on how the vaccines work,” he said, “but we have had to figure out how to do it and how to run these clinics ourselves. It’s not totally new – we do flu-vaccine clinics – but everyone around the country is really challenged by this.”