WASHINGTON — Winter storms have led to a nationwide backlog in the delivery of 6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, setting the time-sensitive vaccination effort back days in communities across the country, the White House said Friday.
“All 50 states have been impacted. The 6 million doses represent about three days of delayed shipping,” Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser on COVID-19, said during a briefing. “As weather conditions improve, we are already working to clear this backlog.”
Slavitt said 1.4 million doses were in transit Friday and backlogged doses will arrive next week, most in the next several days.
Several states told CQ Roll Call they are experiencing delays of vaccines made by Moderna, which has more durable storage that allows it to be shipped to rural communities and other places where access to health care is more challenging and the pandemic has been more deadly. The officials said they did not know when they could expect more.
The Arizona Department of Health Services reported that it had “no estimated time of arrival” for delayed Moderna doses. The Florida Department of Health also reported it did not have a timeline from the federal government on when to expect delayed Moderna doses.
Vaccination hubs run by corporate partners have scrambled to ship out vaccines due to the snow and ice.
FedEx said it is moving vaccines to its second-largest hub at Indianapolis International Airport and other smaller hubs in Oakland, California, and Newark, New Jersey, to reroute shipments.
FedEx, UPS and McKesson all emphasized in emailed statements that they are working to ensure shipments are on time.
“We are in regular and frequent contact and tight partnership with federal agencies, vaccine manufacturers, and others in the supply chain. … Weather conditions only amplify our coordination,” UPS spokesman Matthew O’Connor said.
Slavitt said vaccinators planned to work over the weekend to catch up on missed doses.