Winter weather in the South stymies COVID-19 vaccine shipments

COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech at a Meijer pharmacy. (Jan. 28, 2021)

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Poor weather in other states is leading to a delay in COVID-19 vaccine shipments, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says.

MDHHS said in a Thursday release that it was notified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that a winter storm in Kentucky and Tennessee was at the root of the problem.

Pfizer shipments didn’t go out Monday due to the weather. Moderna shipments coming out of Memphis didn’t go out Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday and it was unclear whether they would go out Thursday or Friday. McKesson, the company handling Moderna distribution, said it expects to see a significant backlog in the coming days, but promised to do its best to catch up quickly.

“Unfortunately, distribution of the vaccine in this circumstance is simply out of our control,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, said in a statement.

People who have appointments coming up are asked to confirm they are still happening before showing up at the distribution site.

Michigan needs about 11.2 million vaccine doses to vaccinate about 5.6 million people. So far, it has received about 2.3 million doses. The state says it hopes the supply to increase in the coming weeks.

The state is nearing its goal of administering 50,000 shots per day. Last week, clinics averaged nearly 45,500 shots per day and that rate has been improving week over week. The infrastructure is in place to administer 80,000 shots per day, officials say.

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