Dr. Fauci says winter storm in Texas is a ‘important’ problem for Covid vaccine distribution

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks throughout a White House press briefing, performed by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, on the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 21, 2021 in Washington, DC.

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The winter storm and energy outages throughout Texas pose a “significant” problem for Covid-19 vaccine distribution, White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Thursday.

“Well, obviously it’s an issue. It’s been slowed down in some places going to a grinding halt,” Fauci stated throughout an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “We’re just going to have to make up for it as soon as the weather lifts a bit, the ice melts and we can get the trucks out and the people out.”

“It is significant when you have that swath of the country … that is really in many respects immobilized,” stated Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The Biden administration is working to select up the tempo of vaccinations in the U.S. after a slower-than-expected rollout beneath former President Donald Trump. However, the winter storm battering Texas is inflicting some Covid-19 vaccine shipments to be delayed and forcing vaccination websites to briefly shut.

Nearly half a million Texans are nonetheless with out energy as of Thursday morning, in accordance with, after the state’s electrical grid couldn’t sustain with the demand for warmth throughout record-low temperatures, inflicting greater than four million outages. Millions of persons are nonetheless beneath boil-water notices, in accordance with The Weather Channel.

The extreme climate has disrupted service at FedEx’s hub in Memphis and triggered bundle delays throughout the U.S., the corporate stated earlier this week. UPS’ Worldport bundle hub in Louisville, Kentucky, and one other regional hub in Dallas have since reopened after briefly closing Monday night time because of the climate.

It’s unclear how this may affect the three new group vaccination facilities, in Dallas, Arlington and Houston, that the Biden administration plans to assist construct. Jeff Zients, President Joe Biden’s Covid czar, informed reporters final week that facilities can be operational the week of Feb. 22 and would enable suppliers to manage greater than 10,000 pictures per day.

The White House didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Once Texas opens extra roads and residents have uninterrupted energy, health-care suppliers are going to need to do “double time” on Covid-19 vaccinations, Fauci stated Thursday.

Roughly three million of the some 29 million Texans have obtained not less than their first dose of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s two-dose Covid-19 vaccines, in accordance with knowledge compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And 1.2 million of these individuals have already gotten their second shot.

Fauci added that he would not know what number of vaccine doses may have been destroyed on account of energy outages or supply delays.

— CNBC’s Noah Higgins-Dunn contributed to this report.

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