NEWS

What to Do if Your COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Is Canceled or Delayed

A blizzard

Bill Hornstein / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

  • Severe weather has canceled or delayed COVID-19 vaccinations across the country.
  • Some areas impacted have closed vaccination sites; others face supply issues.
  • If your appointment has been delayed or canceled, contacting your vaccination center as soon as possible is crucial.

Many areas of the U.S. are currently experiencing poor weather conditions, leading to the cancellation and delay of COVID-19 vaccine appointments in multiple counties.

"Due to the severe winter weather currently impacting a large swath of the country, the U.S. government is projecting widespread delays in COVID-19 vaccine shipments and deliveries over the next few days," a spokesperson from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement to NBC News.

The CDC spokesperson projects that adverse weather events are expected to impact shipments out of the FedEx and UPS facilities in Tennessee and Kentucky, which serve as vaccine shipping hubs for several states.

Public health agencies in states like Arizona, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas have also tweeted out news of vaccine appointment cancellations tied to the delays.

But with an already muddled appointment process, people have taken to social media to express their frustration and concern at having to cancel vaccine appointments due to severe weather.

If you're in a state currently experiencing poor weather conditions, what should you do if you need to cancel your vaccine appointment, or if it’s canceled for you? Experts say act fast.

What This Means For You

COVID-19 vaccination delays are happening all over the country due to severe winter weather. If your appointment is delayed or canceled, contact your vaccination clinic about rescheduling as soon as possible.

Vaccine Dose Timeline

Currently, there are two authorized COVID-19 vaccines that require two doses. The timeline for each vaccine is different: The CDC recommends that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine be given 21 days apart; the Moderna vaccine should be given 28 days apart.

But the CDC recently released guidance stating that a second dose of the vaccines may be delayed up to 42 days—or six weeks—after the first dose. This should give you some leeway if your appointment for your second dose is canceled or delayed in the coming weeks.

What to Do if You Have to Cancel Your Vaccine Appointment

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all guidance. Each state and even vaccination center operates differently. “It all depends on the clinic,” Claire Hannan, MPH, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, tells Verywell.

However, experts say there are a few things you can do:

  • Check if you’ve been given rescheduling information. If your clinic has to cancel your appointment, they may give you information on how and when to reschedule—it’s just not a guarantee. “I would hope that a process is in place so that the patron can avoid having to compete for another slot in line,” Hannan says.
  • Call the clinic. “Some locations leave it up to the individual to reschedule,” William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Tennessee, tells Verywell. “You may need to persist in getting that second dose.”
  • Ask the clinic about extended hours. While it “depends on the jurisdiction,” some clinics “will extend their hours” to make up for canceled appointments or do make-up appointments on another day, infectious disease expert Amesh Adalja, MD, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland, tells Verywell. However, he adds, “it’s all dependent on the vaccine supply.”

Experts stress the importance of getting both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine when you’re able. If you’re waiting on your second dose and you need to space it out beyond 42 days due to delays and cancellations, Adalja says you shouldn’t panic: “You don’t need to get vaccinated all over again if you go beyond that timeframe.”

And, if you're attempting to get your first dose of the vaccine, Schaffner recommends contacting your vaccination site and continuing to call, if you need to. "In some places, the responsibility for rescheduling is on the folks who are getting vaccinated," he says.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

Was this page helpful?
4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Helsel P. Covid vaccine shipments will be delayed because of weather, CDC says. NBC News. Updated February 16, 2021.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Information about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Updated January 25, 2021.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Information about the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Updated January 25, 2021.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim clinical considerations for use of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the United States. Updated February 10, 2021