White House expects to finish shipping millions of Covid vaccines this week delayed by winter storm

Pfizer workers deal with containers of vaccine as U.S. President Joe Biden excursions a Pfizer manufacturing plant producing the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) vaccine in Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S., February 19, 2021.

Tom Brenner | Reuters

WASHINGTON – The White House stated Sunday that it expects to catch up this week on coronavirus vaccine distribution after a sweeping winter storm disrupted the administration’s colossal logistics.

“We knew we can’t control mother nature, no one can, but we can certainly contingency plan. What our team has been doing and preparing to do is engage with and work with the Postal Service, work with FedEx and others to get those doses out to vaccination centers and to communities as quickly as they can handle them,” defined White House press secretary Jen Psaki on ABC’s “This Week” program.

“We expect to rapidly catch up this week, fill that backlog, make sure they’re out to communities and also meet our deadlines and our timelines of the doses that are due to go out this upcoming week,” Psaki stated.

Psaki added that the administration managed to ship 2 million of the 6 million vaccines that had been delayed.

Over the weekend, President Joe Biden permitted a significant catastrophe declaration for Texas as millions throughout the “Lone Star State” cope with the fallout of extreme winter storms. Psaki stated that the president plans to go to Texas quickly.

“He is also very mindful of the fact that it’s not a light footprint for a president to travel to a disaster area. He does not want to take away resources or attention. And we’re going to do that at an appropriate time in coordination with people on the ground,” Psaki stated, including “could be as soon as this week.”

Pike Electric service vehicles line up after a snow storm on February 16, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. Winter storm Uri has introduced historic chilly climate and energy outages to Texas as storms have swept throughout 26 states with a combination of freezing temperatures and precipitation.

Ron Jenkins | Getty Images

Last week,  Andy Slavitt, White House senior advisor for Covid response, advised reporters that the large winter storm triggered highway closures, energy outages in addition to staffing shortages at key shipping hubs.

“As weather conditions improve, we are already looking to clear this backlog,” Slavitt stated on Friday, including that the Covid-19 vaccines had been “sitting safe and sound in our factories and hubs ready to be shipped.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, concurred with Psaki in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“The number was 6 million doses got delayed. We’ve gotten two million out, and we project that by the middle of the week, we will have caught up,” Fauci stated.

“Obviously, it is a setback because you’d like to see the steady flow of vaccine getting out there to get into people’s arms. But we can play pretty good catch-up,” he added.

More than 61 million doses of the vaccine have been administered as of Saturday, in accordance to the CDC. More than 42 million folks have obtained their first dose whereas greater than 17 million folks have been absolutely vaccinated with the two-dose routine.

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