White House anticipates vaccines backlogged due to weather will be delivered by midweek

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In this Jan. 27, 2021, image from video, Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the White House COVID-19 Response Team, speaks during a White House briefing on the Biden administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington. (White House via AP)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week’s winter storms disrupted the deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines in parts of the country, but the White House’s response team believes the U.S. will catch up on deliveries in the next few days.

Andy Slavitt, a senior advisor for the Biden administration’s response to the pandemic, said during a Monday briefing that officials now anticipate that all backlogged doses will be delivered by midweek.

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About 6 million doses were delayed by snow and icy conditions, according to The Associated Press.

“But delivering doses to administration sites is, as we know, only the first step,” said Slavitt. “Sites across the country have a significant job ahead of them to vaccinate the public. It will take some time for those sites to catch up.”

Slavitt said there are still vaccination sites that are closed due to the impact of the winter weather, specifically in Texas, the state most impacted by the plunging temperatures.

He added that Texas’ vaccination rate went down significantly over the past several days, as millions experienced power outages across the state.

“Texas’ 7-day average of administered COVID-19 doses decreased by 31% in the past week due to winter weather impacts,” said Slavitt. “Some Houston area vaccination clinics and testing sites have now reopened, Austin Public Health doesn’t believe reopening is safe at this time, but announced that when operations resume, they will include extended hours and additional locations.”

The White House briefing was held as the U.S. neared another grim milestone – 500,000 deaths from COVID-19. As of 2:30 p.m. EST, a tally by Johns Hopkins University showed the U.S. death toll at just over 499,300 deaths.

The White House is working towards its goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of Joe Biden’s presidency. Following a tour of Pfizer’s vaccine-manufacturing facility on Friday, the president said he believes the U.S. is on track to exceed that goal.

According to the CDC’s vaccine tracker, more than 64.1 million doses have been administered in the U.S. and over 44.1 people have received one of both shots as of Monday afternoon.

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