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Historic Winter Storm Delays Covid Vaccine Shipments Across United States




Snowplow trucks clear a street in New York, United States, Thursday, December 17, 2020.

Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shipments of Covid-19 vaccine doses were delayed this week in several states due to historic winter storms that swept the country, state and federal officials said.

Almost all of the doses that were due to arrive in New York state last weekend have been delayed, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday evening.

“Every dose that should have been shipped on Monday was held up, and only a limited number of Pfizer vaccines left shipping facilities on Tuesday and Wednesday,” Cuomo said, adding that the state was working with suppliers to “reduce the number of appointments that must be postponed. “

It’s not just New York. Samantha Bequer, spokeswoman for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said more than 200,000 doses expected this week had not arrived.

“The state still expects to receive the full vaccine allowance for week 10,” Bequer said in a statement. The state was told yesterday that federal Moderna vaccine shipments are still being delayed by extreme weather conditions. At this time, the state has not received a new schedule on when to expect delayed shipments. . “

Bequer said the state is working with providers and advising them to postpone, but not cancel, appointments for vaccines affected by the setbacks.

In Colorado, state officials said earlier this week that a shipment of more than 130,000 doses had been delayed due to the storm. They said the storm affected a vaccine distribution center in Tennessee, pushing back shipments to several states.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services also said on Thursday it had been informed by the federal government of continued delays in some shipments and deliveries this week due to extreme weather conditions.

The Virginia Department of Health said Thursday that the scheduled delivery of more than 106,000 injections would likely be delayed “due to distribution channels in the Midwest and elsewhere that are currently closed.”

Andy Slavitt, the White House’s senior adviser on the Covid response, confirmed on Friday that there is now a backlog of around 6 million doses affecting all 50 states. “Many states” have been able to make up for missed deliveries with existing inventory, he said during a White House briefing on Covid-19.

Health officials in California, Louisiana and Georgia have also confirmed delays in their shipments.

Georgia’s Department of Public Health said earlier this week that Pfizer and Moderna were withholding shipments due to weather, which “was having a significant impact on COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Georgia.”

White House officials have acknowledged the setbacks. Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci warned Thursday that the storm posed a significant problem for vaccine distribution.

“Well, obviously that’s a problem. It was slowed down in some places and stopped abruptly,” Fauci told MSNBC. “We’re just going to have to make up for that as soon as the weather gets a bit better, the ice melts and we can get the trucks and people out.

Slavitt told CNN Thursday evening that officials will have to “work twice next week, assuming the weather improves.” He added, however, that “there has not been a single spoiled vaccine.”

“We are going to keep these vaccines safe and sound and then get them out to people and catch them up as soon as the weather permits,” he said.

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