Feb 18, 2021 - Health

Fauci: Some vaccine shipments slowed "to a grinding halt" due to historic winter storm

Coronavirus vaccine shipments have slowed "to a grinding halt" in some areas affected by a devastating winter storm and freezing temperatures, Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, told MSNBC on Thursday.

Driving the news: A winter storm is still tracking along the Southeast coast, leaving heavy snow and ice along the mid-Atlantic, the National Weather Service said in an early Thursday morning update. Texas has been hit the hardest by the storm, with just under 500,000 people still without power after several days.

  • "Well, obviously it's an issue. It's been slowed down in some places going to a grinding halt," Fauci said Thursday about vaccine distribution. "We're just going to have to make up for it, as soon as the weather lifts a bit, the ice melts, that we can get the trucks out and the people out and getting the vaccine into people's arms."

What they're saying: “Due to the severe winter weather currently impacting a large swath of the country, the U.S. government is projecting widespread delays in COVID-19 vaccine shipments and deliveries over the next few days,” CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund told the Washington Post in an email on Tuesday.

Where it stands: The U.S. has increased its daily vaccination rate to 1.7 million shots per day on average, which has likely contributed to significant decreases in the number of new cases and hospitalizations.

  • Maintaining this level would also allow the country to reach 80% herd immunity by November, per a Washington Post analysis.

Go deeper: Get smarter, faster with our short course on the coronavirus vaccines.

Go deeper