Winter weather creates COVID19 vaccine backlog

Posted at 11:27 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 23:27:57-05

TAMPA, Fl.-- — Winter weather across the country has created delays in COVID-19 vaccines. Florida initially reported it was waiting for an arrival of an entire shipment of 208,000 Moderna vaccine doses.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management said Friday the state was notified 120,000 of the delayed Moderna doses shipped and were expected Friday or Saturday. Meanwhile, 9,000 remaining Pfizer doses delayed earlier in the week had been received.

Federal officials said there was a back log of 6 million doses across the country due to weather, or about three days of delayed shipping, impacting all 50 states.

“We anticipate that all the backlogged doses will be delivered within the next week with most being delivered within the next several days,” said Andy Slavitt, the White House senior advisor for the COVID response team.

The weather caused challenges for FedEx, UPS and McKesson as workers were snowed in, road closures held up deliveries and more than 2,000 vaccination sites were in areas with power outages, Slavitt said.

Some states, Slavitt said were able to cover some of the delays with existing inventory.

“The packaging plant for Moderna vaccines is just now coming online. Roads are being cleared for the workforce to leave their homes. They are working today through Sunday to package the backlogged orders,” he said.

The delays were felt in some Tampa Bay Area counties.

Manatee County rescheduled vaccinations planned for Thursday and Friday at Bennett Park.

The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County reported it had enough vaccine to carry clinics through Thursday but didn’t schedule appointments for Friday. County officials said shipment arrived Friday morning, and that they were moving forward with clinic plans, including second doses that were previously planned for Friday.

The Florida Department of Health in Polk County also reported shipment delays earlier in the week.

“We want more people to get vaccinated and a couple of days or a couple of weeks of delay because of the cold weather is not going to make a difference in the outcome of getting the distribution out and getting the vaccine in everybody’s arms,” said Jay Wolfson, Ph.D., a senior associate dean at USF’s Morsani College of Medicine.