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A traffic sign for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at the Shrine on Airline in Metairie on Wednesday, February 10, 2021. Ochsner Health and Jefferson Parish officials launched the mass coronavirus vaccine distribution center this week. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

Some major hospitals across south Louisiana have been forced to reschedule coronavirus vaccine appointments as near-freezing temperatures linger and have caused delays in shipping.

Those delays have affected Ochsner Health System, the state's largest provider, and Our Lady of the Lake, which is Baton Rouge's largest provider, among others. 

Dr. Joe Kanter, the state health officer, explained the problem in a social media post Wednesday evening. Kanter suggested people consider contacting their vaccine provider to see if they need to reschedule their appointments if they are supposed to receive their shot this week. 

He added that anyone receiving a second dose of the vaccine should "definitely reschedule" because "getting it a few days late is OK."

At Ochsner, vaccine shipment issues will delay "approximately 500 scheduled appointments," according to spokesperson Katie Fauquier.

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Fauquier said this adjustment will impact first-dose Moderna appointments at certain Ochsner Retail Pharmacies, but that anyone receiving their second vaccine dose or those scheduled to be vaccinated at Ochsner clinics and hospitals will be able to keep their appointments.

She added that those impacted will be contacted directly and then added to a priority waitlist to be rescheduled.

Ryan Cross, spokesperson for Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, said in a statement that many vaccine appointments from Monday and Tuesday were rescheduled. But he said that "as of Wednesday we are proceeding with appointments and are prepared to add additional hours on the weekend to ensure all scheduled appointments for this week are completed."

As for Baton Rouge General, spokesperson Katie Johnston said that they have not had to cancel any appointments yet. However, she said the hospital is due to receive vaccine shipments Thursday, and if the inclement weather delays their shipment, the hospital will contact patients to reschedule for next week.