Winter weather conditions in a broad swath of the country has snarled the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, with an entire week's worth of allocated doses for New York being delayed.
"The Federal government has informed New York that nearly all COVID-19 vaccine doses allocated for Week 10 — which were scheduled to be delivered between February 12th and February 21st — are delayed due to the winter storms continuing to impact much of the country," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement on Wednesday evening. "Every dose that should have shipped on Monday was held back, and only a limited number of Pfizer vaccines left shipping facilities on Tuesday and Wednesday."
So far, about 3 million doses have been administered in New York, with about 2 million people receiving the first dose of the vaccine. The state receives about 300,000 doses from the federal government. New York this week expanded vaccine eligibility to include people with comorbidities.
State officials have also urged patience, given the vast number of New York residents who now qualify for appointments and the limited supply. The delay caused by the weather is another setback.
"This delay will undoubtedly pose a logistical challenge for New York — but as we have shown over the last 350-plus days, we are New York Tough, and we are up to the challenge," Cuomo said.
"The Department of Health is working closely with all providers, including local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, and FQHCs to minimize the impact on their operations and reduce the number of appointments that must be rescheduled. The vaccine is the weapon that will win the war against COVID, and we will continue to work with our federal partners to expedite the delayed shipments and will keep New Yorkers updated over the coming days."