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Health networks weigh in on vaccine shortages

Hospitals are facing challenges when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, between the weather and the mistake the state announced that caused vaccine supply issues.

MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — Rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine has been a roller coaster, between weather issues delaying deliveries and the announcement of supply shortages from the Pennsylvania Department of Health regarding the Moderna vaccine.

It's been challenging for hospitals, including here in Monroe County.

Dr. William Cors is the chief medical officer at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono in East Stroudsburg.

"It's frustrating and disappointing as it is too many people out there waiting to get vaccinated that we know that we have the capacity and capability to be doing so much more than we are doing right now. Honestly, to everyone out there, be patient. We are doing everything we can," said Dr. Cors.

RELATED: Mistakes in Pennsylvania vaccine allocations

The Department of Health says some providers gave first doses of the Moderna vaccine using supplies that were meant for the second dose.

This week, it realized it didn't have enough vaccine for all the second doses scheduled in the coming week.

"When we do get the Moderna vaccine, we will use it for second injections so that we will ensure everyone who had the first injection gets their second injection. That may mean we have to delay people who are getting their first shots," said Dr. Cors.

For those who are waiting for their second dose of Moderna, doctors tell Newswatch 16, according to the CDC, there is a grace period that means the vaccine is just as effective even though it's delayed.

It's between 28 and 42 days.

RELATED: How to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Pennsylvania

Don Seiple, the president of St. Luke's Monroe Campus, says the shortage will temporarily impact some people scheduled for this week.

"We've always had an eye to it, and it was always our first priority to make sure folks had their second shots, and we continue to manage that, and they will get their shots. We are following CDC guidelines, and we've all seen those out there in the public, and they will get their vaccine. They will get their second doses because it's always been our first priority," said Seiple.

People impacted will be contacted by email or by phone.

Hospital officials tell Newswatch 16, it's important for people to continue to social distance, wash hands, and wear masks even after getting vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19.