Pfizer employees take care of vaccine containers while U.S. President Joe Biden tours a Pfizer manufacturing facility where the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is manufactured in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, on February 19, 2021.
Tom Brenner | Reuters
WASHINGTON – The White House announced on Sunday that it is expected to catch up on coronavirus vaccine distribution this week after a widespread winter storm disrupted the government’s colossal logistics.
“We knew we couldn’t control Mother Nature, no one can, but we can certainly create a contingency plan. Our team has prepared to work with the postal service, work with FedEx and others to get these doses at vaccination centers and Communities ASAP, “White House press secretary Jen Psaki told ABC’s This Week program.
“We expect to catch up quickly this week, fill that backlog, make sure they are available in the communities, and also meet our deadlines and schedules for the doses to be released in the coming week,” said Psaki .
Psaki added that the administration had managed to dispose of 2 million of the 6 million late vaccines.
Over the weekend, President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for Texas as millions across the Lone Star State deal with the aftermath of severe winter storms. Psaki said the president plans to visit Texas soon.
“He is also very much aware of the fact that traveling to a disaster area is not a small footprint for a president. He does not want to take away resources or attention. And we will do so at an appropriate time by vote.” with local people, “said Psaki, adding,” could be this week. “
Pike Electric Service Trucks line up after a snow storm in Fort Worth, Texas on February 16, 2021. Winter Storm Uri has historically brought cold weather and power outages to Texas as storms with a mixture of freezing temperatures and precipitation swept across 26 states.
Ron Jenkins | Getty Images
Last week Andy Slavitt, Senior White House Advisor on Covid Response, told reporters that the massive winter storm triggered road closures, power outages and staff shortages at key shipping centers.
“As weather conditions improve, we are already trying to clear this backlog,” Slavitt said on Friday, adding that the Covid-19 vaccines are “safe and sound sitting in our factories and hubs and ready to ship.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Allergy and Infectious Disease Institute, agreed with Psaki in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“The figure was delayed 6 million doses. We got two million out, and we expect to catch up by the middle of the week,” said Fauci.
“Obviously it’s a setback because you want to see the steady flow of vaccines getting into people’s arms. But we can catch up pretty well,” he added.
More than 61 million doses of the vaccine were given on Saturday, according to the CDC. More than 42 million people received their first dose, while more than 17 million people were fully vaccinated on the two-dose regimen.