Severe winter weather across the country has delayed the arrival of 200,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Florida, according to a local report.
The doses, which were initially expected on Tuesday, should now arrive Thursday, said Samantha Bequer, a spokeswoman for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, to the Naples Daily News. But even if the shipment does arrive Thursday, vaccine distribution will still likely be delayed, she warned.
“The state has been working closely with providers and has advised they begin to plan for delays in their vaccine delivery,” she told the paper.
Vaccine appointments will potentially need to be rescheduled, Bequer said, advising providers to “not cancel appointments, but rather reschedule any appointments that may be impacted by this delay.”
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also spoke to the delays during a news conference on Wednesday, noting that in addition to the 200,000 Moderna doses, the state is also waiting on an additional shipment of 9,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that have also been impacted by the winter blast.
A massive winter storm has swept across the U.S. in recent days, namely affecting the Midwest and Texas, where an estimated 2 million people have been left without power. The storm is also said to be behind the deaths of at least 20 people.
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During a White House press briefing on Wednesday, Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said that the administration was aware that ongoing storms were having an impact on distribution and delivery, and that they were encouraging governors in affected states to extend hours at vaccination sites once it was safe to reopen.
“As we’ve lost some time in some states, we hope that our partners will do all they can to make up that lost ground consistent with distributing the vaccine as efficiently and equitably as possible,” he said.
Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.