With the winter storm lashing across much of the country, the coronavirus vaccine distribution had taken a major hit, The New York Times reported.
The widespread disruption had led to the closing of the clinics where shots were given. Flights remained grounded amid thick snow and ice, and highways had been rendered dangerously slick.
Winter Storm Disrupts Vaccine Distribution, The Southern States Most Affected
The bad weather conditions come as the latest hurdle in the US vaccine rollout that had been on track despite difficulties, confusion and delays.
On average, about 1.7 million shots were being administered daily, according to a New York Times database. Eligibility had been expanded in several states, including New York and California, despite a limited supply.
The South had been particularly severely affected, with many closures and cancellations worsening the pace of vaccinations, which was already slow as compared to the national average.
On Monday, states across Texas to Alabama to Kentucky saw vaccine appointments cancelled or rescheduled.
The storm’s impact on vaccine distribution was felt across the country, and according to health officials in Washington State, which had seen the storm come and go, they were rolling back vaccination plans later this week due to anticipated delays in the delivery of new doses.
According to Governor Mike Parson of Missouri, the weather would most likely interfere with vaccine shipments to his state as well.
According to commentators, the interruptions were expected to grow worse in the coming days as the storm continued to sweep across the country.
More closures had been announced, and power outages, some of them intentional to ease the burden on the electrical grid, had hit millions of people in Texas, Kentucky, Oregon, Virginia, and elsewhere.
In Missouri on Monday, Mr. Parson said that vaccination distribution run by the state would be called off for the rest of the week.
He said in a statement that Missouri was experiencing severe winter weather that made driving dangerous and threatened the health and safety of anyone exposed to the cold.
Hospitals in Alabama had closed vaccination clinics, as had over two dozen county health departments. According to state officials in New Hampshire, vaccinations scheduled for Tuesday would be rescheduled or canceled.
The Biden administration had, last week, announced it had secured enough vaccine doses to inoculate every American adult.
The 200 million additional doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would take the total by the end of summer to 600 million. Two doses of the vaccine are administered per person.
President Biden added that many Americans still would not have been vaccinated by then due to logistical hurdles, including overburdened local health departments that lacked the staff or experience to carry out such a vaccination campaign on such a scale.
Meanwhile, admitting to a degree of fault for the first time, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Monday that his administration’s lack of transparency about the scope of virus-related deaths in nursing homes in New York was a mistake; the New York Times reported.
He acknowledged that with the failure to address questions from state lawmakers and news media, the state had created a void that was filled with scepticism, conspiracy theories and cynicism, which added to the confusion.
Mr. Cuomo, who was speaking in the state Capitol made his first remarks after a top aide to the governor, Melissa DeRosa, in a private conversation with some state lawmakers last week, said the state had withheld data from the Legislature over fears that the Trump administration would use the information to initiate a federal investigation into the state’s handling of nursing homes.
On Monday, he said that information had not been given as his office was busy with the federal request made in late August. He conceded questions about the total toll from lawmakers or the news media went unanswered.
“There was a delay,” Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat.