Winter storm causes "widespread delays" of COVID vaccine shipments
The winter storm sweeping across Texas and much of the U.S. has posed new obstacles to coronavirus vaccination efforts.
Driving the news: Hazardous weather has slowed deliveries from two central distribution hubs for the Southeast. The U.S. government is projecting "widespread delays" in vaccine shipments in the next few days, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesperson told the Washington Post.
- The CDC did not specify how many doses scheduled for delivery this week will be impacted.
- The Texas Department of State Health Services tweeted that it expects this week's shipments to arrive Wednesday at the earliest, depending on local conditions.
- In Houston, the public health agency lost power and had to distribute thousands of shots before they went bad.
- Missouri shuttered all large-scale vaccination sites through Friday.
- Some counties in Minnesota have had to cancel vaccinations, a Fox News affiliate reports.
- The grocery chain Publix stopped taking vaccine appointments in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia due to shipping delays.
- The weather is expected to disrupt vaccine shipments from a FedEx facility in Tennessee and a UPS installation in Kentucky, which both operate as shipping hubs for several states, the Biden administration said.
The bottom line: "No one wants to put vaccine at risk by attempting to deliver it in dangerous conditions," the Texas DSHS said in its Twitter post.
The other side: The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that the number of vaccines being sent weekly to states will increase again, from 11 million doses to 13.5 million, per The Post.
- And FEMA launched its first mass COVID-19 vaccination sites yesterday in Los Angeles and Oakland. The sites are part of the administration's plan to distribute vaccines faster and to hard-hit communities.