Extreme winter weather is dealing the first major setback to the Biden administration's planned swift rollout of coronavirus vaccines just as the national vaccination campaign was hitting its stride. (Feb. 19)
ANDY SLAVITT: We have a backlog of about 6 million doses due to the weather. All 50 states have been impacted. The 6 million doses represents about three days of delayed shipping. And many states have been able to cover some of this delay with existing inventory.
Now, as weather conditions improve, we're already working to clear this backlog. 1.4 million doses are already in transit today. And we anticipate that all the backlog doses will be delivered within the next week, with most being delivered within the next several days. And we expect we will be able to manage both this backlog and the new production coming online next week.
General Perna's guidance to the team was to ensure safety of personnel, preservation of the vaccines and supplies, and constant communication with the states. Because of 72-hour cold chain constraints, we don't want to ship doses to those locations and have them sitting at a site where they might expire.
So the vaccines are sitting safe and sound in our factories and hubs, ready to be shipped out, as soon as the weather allows. Today I'm pleased to announce we'll be opening five additional vaccination centers-- one in Pennsylvania, and four in Florida.