Biden to see Pfizer plant as weather delays shipping vaccine

Extreme winter weather is dealing the first major setback to the Biden administration’s planned swift rollout of coronavirus vaccines just as the national vaccination campaign was hitting its stride.

Posted: Feb 19, 2021 1:01 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Extreme winter weather is dealing the first major setback to the Biden administration’s planned swift rollout of coronavirus vaccines just as the national vaccination campaign was hitting its stride.

The disruptions caused by frigid temperatures, snow and ice left the White House scrambling to work with states to make up “lost ground” even as President Joe Biden was set to visit a Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant near Kalamazoo, Michigan. The president’s trip itself had been pushed back a day to Friday due to wintry weather in the nation’s capital.

The president was set to meet with workers at the plant who are producing one of the two federally-approved COVID-19 shots. According to the CDC, the two-dose Pfizer vaccine has been administered about 30 million times since it received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 11.

From Texas to New England, bad weather has forced many injection sites to close and held up shipments of needed doses.

White House coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt said Friday that the weather has led to a three-day delay in shipping vaccine, or about 6 million doses. Slavitt says the vaccine won’t spoil and is “safe and sound” in warehouses.

But as shipments resume and scale up, vaccinators in communities across the country are going to have to work overtime to get shots into arms. “We as an entire nation will have to pull together to get back on track,” Slavitt told reporters at the White House coronavirus briefing.

From Texas to New England, bad weather has forced many injection sites to close and held up shipments of needed doses.

Slavit said about 1.4 million doses were being shipped Friday and the rest of the backlog should be cleared in several days.

In addition, the government is opening up five new mass vaccination centers, one in Philadelphia, and four others in the Florida cities of Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.

The U.S. had administered an average of 1.7 million doses per day in the week that ended on Tuesday, evidence that the pace of the vaccination program was picking up. The magnitude of the weather’s impact was not immediately clear because of reporting lags in vaccination data maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but it was expected to be significant.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House was closely monitoring the weather’s impact on vaccine deliveries and working with manufacturers, shipping companies and states to speed their distribution.

The delays were so severe that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday suggested he would explore sending his state’s national guard to collect doses from icebound shipping hubs in Memphis, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky.

The Republican governor said the state “may have some real issues with supply delivery this week,” and “we have been told it would be a few days late, based on some of the issues around weather in other parts of the country.”

The Virginia Department of Health reported Thursday that it was expecting delays on about 90% of its expected 120,000 doses this week and warned that the delays could cascade into next week.

“Even if the roads are clear in Virginia, the fulfillment of orders and the movement of these vaccine and ancillary supplies may be delayed in other parts of the country,” the department said in a news release.

In North Carolina, none of the more than 163,000 first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine scheduled to arrive this week have been delivered by Biden’s administration, the state health department said. The state also noted that only a limited number of the nearly 127,000 expected Pfizer vaccines have been shipped.

Oklahoma moved to reschedule vaccine clinics to this weekend, when it expects its 110,000 doses to be delivered, aiming to make up appointments from this week.

Full Coverage: Coronavirus pandemic
The ripple effects extended far beyond areas experiencing winter weather. In Arizona, the bulk of the state’s anticipated shipment of Moderna doses was delayed until early next week, forcing the postponement of some vaccination appointments.

Psaki said the White House was working with shippers to speed deliveries of the vaccines once conditions improved and was encouraging states to extend hours for vaccination clinics once they reopen and to swiftly rebook postponed appointments.

“We want to make sure that as we’ve lost some time in some states for people to get needles in arms, that our partners do all they can to make up that lost ground,” said White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines must remain frozen during shipping, with the Pfizer shot requiring super-cold storage temperatures. The White House said it was working with shippers to ensure there was no spoilage of doses during the weather delays.

“So far this week, there hasn’t been a single vaccine that’s spoiled” due to the delays, White House COVID adviser Andy Slavitt told CNN on Thursday. “We’re going to keep these vaccines safe and sound, then get them out to people and catch up just as soon as the weather allows.”

Terre Haute
Partly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 72°
Robinson
Partly Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 69°
Indianapolis
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 70°
Rockville
Partly Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 69°
Casey
Mostly Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 67°
Brazil
Partly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 72°
Marshall
Partly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 72°
Clouds move in today with showers possible this evening.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1363409

Reported Deaths: 24725
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook54578510114
DuPage906281281
Will75577990
Lake67248988
Kane58414774
Winnebago33247475
Madison30525520
McHenry28604288
St. Clair27862514
Peoria23136315
Champaign20649145
Sangamon18762234
McLean18167179
Tazewell16959288
Rock Island14994317
Kankakee14193210
Kendall1306094
LaSalle12553243
Macon10762199
DeKalb9874119
Vermilion9653132
Adams8466123
Williamson7433130
Whiteside7165172
Boone670773
Ogle611481
Grundy589375
Clinton576090
Coles568795
Knox5565145
Jackson502764
Henry498167
Livingston482585
Stephenson475983
Woodford475176
Effingham472972
Macoupin470282
Marion4472115
Franklin445075
Monroe435793
Jefferson4296120
Lee416952
Randolph413184
Fulton392756
Morgan390382
Logan388058
Bureau372082
Montgomery372074
Christian366773
Perry317560
Fayette317455
Iroquois302266
McDonough285647
Jersey268950
Douglas258835
Saline256454
Lawrence240525
Shelby229837
Union226040
Crawford212026
Bond205024
Cass199225
Jo Daviess181524
Clark179833
Warren179846
Pike179152
Ford178647
Wayne177553
Hancock176032
Carroll175436
Richland175040
Edgar170440
White169726
Washington164525
Moultrie161028
De Witt151324
Mason151045
Piatt149814
Clay148143
Mercer147033
Johnson144415
Greene143733
Wabash134512
Massac134340
Cumberland129019
Menard123612
Jasper115018
Marshall107318
Hamilton83315
Schuyler7587
Brown7066
Pulaski6877
Stark63823
Edwards57112
Henderson52514
Calhoun5182
Putnam4823
Scott4791
Alexander46811
Gallatin4584
Hardin38612
Pope3224
Out of IL40
Unassigned02356

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 733591

Reported Deaths: 13466
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1003871748
Lake54020975
Allen40829679
St. Joseph35898552
Hamilton35735408
Elkhart28745442
Tippecanoe22432219
Vanderburgh22342397
Porter18871310
Johnson18028381
Hendricks17283315
Clark13015191
Madison12725339
Vigo12482248
LaPorte12011214
Monroe11928170
Delaware10726187
Howard9959218
Kosciusko9451117
Hancock8325142
Bartholomew8085156
Warrick7792155
Floyd7677178
Grant7080174
Wayne7064199
Boone6722101
Morgan6596139
Dubois6162117
Marshall6083112
Cass5839105
Dearborn582178
Henry5767104
Noble563684
Jackson502773
Shelby493696
Lawrence4571120
Harrison436372
Gibson436292
DeKalb429685
Clinton428153
Montgomery425389
Whitley397439
Huntington393380
Steuben390057
Miami382668
Knox372690
Jasper370148
Putnam362360
Wabash354980
Adams341955
Ripley340270
Jefferson331581
White315654
Daviess298299
Wells291981
Decatur285692
Fayette281662
Greene280085
Posey271933
LaGrange268370
Scott267254
Clay260647
Washington241832
Randolph241481
Spencer232631
Jennings230649
Starke217854
Fountain213246
Sullivan212142
Owen202156
Jay196730
Fulton195640
Carroll189620
Orange184154
Perry184037
Rush173725
Vermillion169743
Franklin168435
Tipton163045
Parke146616
Blackford135132
Pike135134
Pulaski117145
Newton108334
Brown102641
Crawford101315
Benton99014
Martin89515
Warren82415
Switzerland7938
Union71110
Ohio57111
Unassigned0417