The rate of Covid-19 vaccinations in the United States, which had been accelerating after a chaotic start, has quickly fallen after a winter storm blew through much of the country, closing vaccine sites and delaying shipments of millions of doses.
About 1.52 million vaccine doses are being administered per day, according to a New York Times database. Although that is still above President Biden’s target, it is the lowest rate since Feb. 8.
The country has been racing to vaccinate as many people as possible before more contagious and possibly deadlier variants of the coronavirus become dominant, and the figure had been well above the president’s goal of 1.5 million doses for several days. It peaked at 1.7 million on Feb. 16 before a brutal winter storm hit states from coast to coast. The bad weather delayed shipments of vaccine supplies from two hubs: a FedEx center in Memphis and a UPS site in Louisville, Ky.
More than 2,000 vaccine sites were in areas with power outages, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Many were not only forced to close but left relying on generators to keep doses at the ultracold temperatures they require to prevent them from spoiling.
New York City has fewer than 1,000 first Covid-19 doses on hand because of shipment delays caused by snowstorms across the country, the city reported on Saturday. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that New York City had delayed scheduling up to 35,000 first dose appointments because of the shortage.
The storm stacked up six million doses, about three days’ worth of shipping delays, stalling appointments across the country, said Andy Slavitt, a White House pandemic adviser, at a news conference.
States had made up for some of the backlog with existing stock, Mr. Slavitt said. Of the six million doses, 1.4 million were already in transit on Friday, he added, and the rest were expected to be delivered in the next week.
“We’re asking vaccine administration sites to extend their hours even further and offer additional appointments and to try to reschedule the vaccinations over the coming days and weeks as significantly more supply arrives,” Mr. Slavitt said Friday.
The bottlenecks and delays have come just as states have broadened vaccine access to more groups, despite a limited supply that is not growing enough to keep up.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said that starting March 1 the state would reserve 10 percent of its first vaccine doses for teachers and school employees, after expanding access to all Californians with chronic health conditions and disabilities.
Some states have restarted vaccinations. Texas, after a frigid storm left millions without power and water, has reopened inoculation sites. The state has been assigned almost 600,000 first doses of the vaccine for the upcoming week, according to the state health department, up from about 400,000 first doses for the week of Feb. 15.
The doses that were supposed to be delivered this week are still waiting to be shipped to Texas from out-of-state warehouses, state health officials said. The missed doses are expected to be delivered in the first half of this week.
In Dallas, a major vaccination hub at Fair Park will reopen Sunday, but sites in Austin remain closed.
On Sunday, Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, said on “Face the Nation” that vaccinations had resumed there and that a FEMA site would open Monday with the potential to administer shots to 6,000 people a day for the next six to eight weeks. He estimated the city could vaccinate more than 100,000 people in the coming week. “The people are resilient,” he said. “I’m very proud of the people in the city of Houston, how they have come together.”
New York State is still scheduling appointments for new mass vaccination sites opening in Brooklyn and Queens on Wednesday in partnership with FEMA.
State officials said that they had received 40 percent of their vaccine allocation for the week, and that they expected the remainder would be distributed on Sunday.
The new sites, at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and York College in Queens, are open to residents of only select ZIP codes and are intended to increase low vaccination rates in communities of color. Data released on Tuesday showed drastic disparities between vaccination rates in whiter areas of New York City compared with predominantly Black neighborhoods.
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