Published On: Fri, Feb 19th, 2021

Winter storms delay delivery of 6 million vaccine doses

Storms across the U.S. have delayed the delivery of millions of vaccine doses — and now, officials are playing catch-up. 

“As of now we have a backlog of about 6 million doses due to the weather. All 50 states have been impacted,” said Andy Slavitt, the White House COVID-19 response team senior adviser. 

That represents three days of delayed shipping due to delivery workers snowed in at home, road closures and more than 2,000 vaccine distribution centers without power, according to the White House response team. 

As a result, nearly all of this week’s shipments to New York are delayed. In Los Angeles, more than 12,000 appointments on Friday were canceled. Boston dentist Khara Gresham’s second-dose appointment on Friday was canceled, despite her high-risk work. 

When asked how she felt about the delays, Gresham said she was “A little bit frustrated, a little bit annoyed is probably a good word, confused as to what next steps to take, whether to go find it somewhere else or just wait until they’re able to to get them.” 

On Friday, President Biden toured the western Michigan Pfizer plant that’s shipping the vaccine across the country. Pfizer submitted new data to the Food and Drug Administration showing its vaccines can be stored in standard pharmacy freezers — instead of ultra-cold speciality freezers — that could expand distribution to more vaccine sites. 

An Israeli study found that a single Pfizer vaccine dose is 85% effective. But the White House still strongly recommends two doses. 

“We’re not going to be persuaded by one study that grabs headlines,” Slavitt said. 

Meanwhile, people are going to great lengths to cut the line. In Florida, women were given citations this week after allegedly dressing up in bonnets and gloves, pretending to be senior citizens to get the vaccine. 

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