Power outages amid ongoing winter storms have affected more than 2,000 COVID-19 vaccination sites, slowing the pace of administering doses, U.S. health officials said Friday.
More than a third of U.S. states have reported shipment delays. Government vaccine distribution partners “have all faced challenges as workers have been snowed in and unable to get to work to package and ship the vaccines,” said Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response.
Some vaccines were sitting “safe and sound” in factories and hubs, and approximately 1.4 million doses were being transported Friday, Slavitt said. UPS and FedEx will be making Saturday deliveries, and all backlogged doses would be delivered “within the next week,” he said.
“We will be able to catch up, but we understand this will mean asking more of people,” Slavitt said. “If we all work together, from the factory all the way to vaccinators, we will make up for it in the coming week.”
Meanwhile, Slavitt announced the U.S. plans to open five more community vaccination centers, including one in Philadelphia, and four in Florida, in Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa.