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Winter storm delays shipments of 6 million Covid vaccine doses in U.S.: Officials

Huge winter storms throughout the Midwest and Texas have delayed the supply of 6 million Covid-19 vaccine doses affecting each state within the U.S., the nation’s high well being officers mentioned Friday.

The backlog represents three days’ price of delayed shipments, Andy Slavitt, White Home senior advisor for Covid response, mentioned throughout a press briefing.

“Many states have been in a position to cowl a few of this delay with current stock,” Slavitt mentioned.

The delayed shipments stem from three predominant choke factors within the vaccines’ distribution chain attributable to the climate, he mentioned. Supply hubs at UPS, FedEx and McKesson, which have been charged with delivering the doses to the states, have reported staffing shortages.

Slavitt mentioned their staff “have been snowed in and unable to get to work to package deal” the vaccines, administration kits and different provides.

Highway closures have additionally held up the supply of the vaccines between manufacturing websites and transport hubs. On high of that, greater than 2,000 vaccine distribution websites are unable to obtain doses as a result of they’re in areas hampered by energy outages, he mentioned.

Due to strict cold-chain necessities for storing the doses at ultra-cold temperatures, it is higher to carry again the shipments than to ship them to locations the place the pictures may expire if they cannot be administered inside three days. He mentioned the vaccines are “sitting secure and sound in our factories and hubs able to be shipped.”

“As climate circumstances enhance, we’re already seeking to clear this backlog,” Slavitt mentioned, including that 1.4 million doses are being shipped on Friday. He mentioned the administration anticipates “all of the backlog doses shall be delivered within the subsequent week.”

“We count on we can handle this backlog and the brand new manufacturing coming on-line subsequent week,” Slavitt mentioned.

Previous to Friday’s briefing, state officers throughout the U.S. beginning sounding alarms that their vaccine shipments have been delayed this week. The large winter storm has shuttered distribution hubs and left tens of millions of individuals with out energy throughout states similar to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

White Home Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on Thursday that the ability outages and winter storm throughout Texas this week pose a “vital” drawback for Covid-19 vaccine distribution. The Biden administration is asking immunization websites to increase their hours and supply extra appointments over the approaching days and weeks to assist catch up, Slavitt mentioned Friday.

“If all of us work collectively, from the manufacturing unit all the way in which to the vaccinators, we are going to make up for it within the coming week,” he mentioned.

Slavitt additionally introduced Friday that the administration is working with Florida and Pennsylvania to open 5 extra vaccination facilities.

4 of the 5 vaccination facilities shall be within the Florida cities of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa, he mentioned, including the 4 websites could have the capability to vaccinate a complete of as much as 12,000 individuals per day. The fifth middle shall be in Philadelphia, he mentioned, and can be capable to vaccinate 6,000 individuals per day.

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