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Historic winter storm is delaying supply of Covid vaccines to the US

Snow plow carts clear a street in New York, United States on Thursday, December 17, 2020.

Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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

Almost all of the cans that were supposed to arrive in New York state this past weekend have been delayed, Governor Andrew Cuomo said late Thursday.

“Any dose that should have been shipped on Monday was withheld and limited numbers of Pfizer vaccines left shipping facilities on Tuesday and Wednesday,” Cuomo said, adding that the state is working with vendors to “increase the number reduce the deadlines that are required. ” be moved. “

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

“The state is still expecting full vaccine allocation by week 10,” Bequer said in a statement. “Yesterday, the state was notified that federal deliveries of Moderna vaccines are still being delayed due to severe weather. At this point in time, the state has not been given a new timetable for when expected delayed deliveries will occur.”

Bequer said the state is working with vendors advising them to postpone, but not cancel, vaccine appointments hit by the setbacks.

In Colorado, state officials said earlier this week that a shipment of more than 130,000 cans was delayed due to the storm. They said the storm hit a vaccine distribution center in Tennessee, which has pushed back shipments to several states.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday it had been informed by the federal government of ongoing delays in some supplies and deliveries this week due to severe weather.

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

Andy Slavitt, the White House’s senior advisor on Covid Response, confirmed Friday that there is now about 6 million doses backlog affecting all 50 states. “Many states” were able to make up for the missed deliveries with existing inventory, he said at a Covid-19 briefing in the White House.

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

The Georgian Ministry of Health announced earlier this week that Pfizer and Moderna were holding shipments due to the weather, which “severely affected shipments of COVID-19 vaccines to Georgia”.

White House officials have recognized the setbacks. The chief physician Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Thursday that the storm is creating a significant problem for vaccine distribution.

“Well, obviously it’s a problem. It slowed down and stalled in a few places,” Fauci told MSNBC. “We just have to make up for it as soon as the weather subsides a bit, the ice melts and we can get the trucks and the people out.”

Slavitt told CNN Thursday evening that officials “will have to work double next week, provided the weather improves”. However, he added that “there has not been a single vaccine that is spoiled”.

“We’ll keep these vaccines safe and sound, then give them to people and catch up as soon as the weather allows,” he said.

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