Winter storm causes vaccine shipment delays

Written by on February 19, 2021

Winter storm causes vaccine shipment delays

By Nina Feldman / WHYY

Feburary 19, 2021

Photo: Elissa Nadworny/NPR

The worst of the latest winter storm to hit northeastern Pennsylvania is likely over, but the impact of the bad weather across the state may be felt for days to come. 

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The snowy weather across the region is still clogging roadways and slowing traffic and that means vaccination shipments have been delayed, too. 

Many Pennsylvanians with vaccine appointments on Feb. 18 were forced to cancel them due to snowy weather. But the slowdown might extend beyond the storm itself, causing shipping delays from the vaccine manufacturing facilities to the Commonwealth. 

Lindsey Mauldin, senior COVID-19 advisor at the Pennsylvania Department of Health says Moderna vaccines were not sent out for three days this week because of bad weather elsewhere in the country. Fewer Pfizer vaccines than allocated were shipped, as well. 

“There will be a significant backlog of orders for distribution as a result of the adverse weather,” Mauldin says.

Mauldin wasn’t able to say how many doses this will set the Commonwealth back but says most vaccine providers would be affected by a shortage of supplies. This delay is in addition to one caused by providers who mistakenly administered the first doses of the Moderna vaccine that were supposed to be reserved for second shots. 

Mauldin says some of those shipments were set to go directly to providers like hospitals and community clinics, while others would have been passed through the DOH. 

“It’s safe to say the majority of our providers have been affected by the weather,” she says. 

Mauldin wasn’t sure how long of a backlog the supply shortage would continue but said it was certain to cause a delay in getting shots into arms.  

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