The devastating winter storms hitting the US have injected confusion and frustration into the country’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign, leading to deliveries and cancellation of thousands of injections across the country.
In much of the US, including deep southern states like Georgia and Alabama, snowy and slippery weather caused vaccination sites to close or delayed necessary shipments, and delays are expected to continue for days. .
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday that states would face serious delays in receiving doses, with dangerous road conditions and power outages hampering delivery. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio said doses scheduled for this week were delayed by weather in other parts of the country, forcing the city to delay taking 30,000 to 35,000 vaccination appointments.
A public health expert said the delays were unacceptable.
“Making vaccine centers take the snow days will just support things more than they already are,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, principal investigator at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Safety. “The virus does not take days of snow.”
Jo Dohogne of Bartlett, Tennessee, said she had scheduled two appointments this week to receive her second dose of the Moderna vaccine, but both had been canceled due to bad weather.
Dohogne, 75, who has multiple sclerosis, said she felt abandoned as the six-week mark approached for her second dose after her first vaccination on January 14.
“I’m stressed; it’s like this is taking up my whole life, “said Dohogne.
White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said that in places where vaccination sites have been closed, such as Texas, the government is encouraging sites to increase their hours once they are open.
“We want to make sure that since we’ve wasted some time in some states for people to get needles in their guns, our partners do everything they can to make up that lost ground,” he said.
In southern Nevada, officials reported that winter storms had delayed a shipment of Moderna vaccines scheduled to be given as second doses this week.
It is worrying that the delays come as efforts to immunize more people increase. The United States is vaccinating an average of 1.7 million Americans a day against Covid-19, up from less than 1 million a month ago. New figures from the White House show a steady increase in the rate of vaccinations during Joe Biden’s first month in office.
Biden is on track to surpass his goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office, but the pace must pick up even more to meet his plans to vaccinate nearly all adults by late summer.
In the face of frustrating delays, some people showed remarkable persistence. Fran Goldman, 90, of Seattle, told the Seattle Times that she walked 6 miles round trip in the snow to get vaccinated.
Goldman said that after much effort, it had finally secured a spot for Sunday morning, but on Friday and Saturday a strong storm moved, filling the streets with snowdrifts.
Goldman dressed in wool pants and put on a few warm layers over a short-sleeved shirt so that the nurse could reach his arm easily.
“It was not easy. It was a challenge, ”he said. He was only five minutes late for his appointment.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism