WASHINGTON — White House coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt says the drive to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19 has been set back by the winter storms that have spanned the country, shutting down transportation hubs and highways.
But Slavitt says it’s possible to catch up with a concerted effort.
The weather has led to a 3-day delay in shipping vaccines, or about 6 million doses. Slavitt says the vaccine won’t spoil and is “safe and sound” in warehouses.
But as shipments resume and scale-up, vaccinators in communities across the country are going to have to work overtime to get shots into arms.
“We as an entire nation will have to pull together to get back on track,” Slavitt told reporters at the White House coronavirus briefing.
About 1.4 million doses were being shipped Friday and the rest of the backlog should be cleared in several days.
In addition, the government said it is opening up five new mass vaccination centers, one in Philadelphia, and four others in the Florida cities of Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The United States has more than 27 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
As of Friday, the U.S. had more than 493,000 deaths from the virus. Worldwide, there are more than 110 million confirmed cases with more than 2.4 million deaths.