White House expects to complete shipment of millions of Covid vaccines this week delayed by winter storm


Pfizer employees handle vaccine containers as US President Joe Biden visits a Pfizer manufacturing facility producing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States, on February 19, 2021.

Tom Brenner | Reuters

WASHINGTON – The White House said on Sunday that it plans to catch up with the distribution of coronavirus vaccines this week after a severe winter storm disrupted the administration’s colossal logistics.

“We knew we can’t control Mother Nature, no one can, but we can definitely plan a contingency plan. What our team has done and is preparing to do is work with the postal service and work with FedEx and others to get them. distributes doses to immunization centers and communities as quickly as they can process them, ”White House press secretary Jen Psaki told TBEN’s“ This Week ”program.

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“We plan to catch up quickly this week, close that backlog, make sure they get sent to communities and meet our deadlines and dosages due out this coming week,” Psaki said.

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

Over the weekend, President Joe Biden approved a declaration of major disaster for Texas as millions of people across the “Lone Star State” deal with the fallout from severe winter storms. Psaki said the president plans to visit Texas soon.

“He is also very aware that it is no small task for a president to travel to a disaster area. He does not want to lose resources or attention. And we will do it at the appropriate time in coordination. . with people on the ground, “Psaki said, adding” could be as early as this week. “

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Pike Electric service trucks line up after a snowstorm on February 16, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. Winter Storm Uri brought cold weather and power outages to Texas as storms swept through 26 states with a mixture of freezing temperatures and precipitation.

Ron Jenkins | Getty Images

Last week, Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser on the Covid response, told reporters the massive winter storm triggered road closures, power outages as well as staff shortages in major centers shipping.

“As the weather conditions improve, we are already looking to clear this backlog,” Slavitt said on Friday, adding that the Covid-19 vaccines were “safe and sound in our factories and hubs ready to ship”.

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

“The number was 6 million delayed doses. We released two million, and we expect that by the middle of the week we will have caught up,” Fauci said.

“Obviously that’s a setback because you would like to see the steady flow of vaccines coming into people’s arms. But we can do a really good catch-up,” he added.

More than 61 million doses of the vaccine were given on Saturday, according to the CDC. More than 42 million people have received their first dose while more than 17 million people have been fully vaccinated with the two-dose schedule.



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