Extreme weather conditions could delay vaccine shipments next week

Updated: Feb. 19, 2021 at 8:08 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Snow and record low temperatures in the south are impacting parts of the country not directly affected by the storms — by causing delays in covid-19 vaccine shipments and deliveries.

“Obviously, it’s an issue,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “It’s been going down, in some places, to a grinding halt.”

The weather could impact deliveries for the next one to two weeks. But the White House says they’re doing everything they can to speed up the process.

”We’re also working with our partners to move up scheduled deliveries whenever possible, and to surge shipment operations through the end of the week into the weekend,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated. “We’re in conversations about extended hours and additional appointments to try and reschedule shots given the storm.”

According to FEMA, Minnesota is one of 15 states experiencing “limited impact” on vaccine deliveries.

“We’re just going to have to make up for it. Namely, double-time when this thing clears up,” Fauci added.

Here in southern Minnesota, the wheels are still turning. On Friday, the state surpassed 1 million total vaccines administered.

Mankato’s new vaccine site, operated by Mayo Clinic Health System, is finishing its first week of vaccinating residents over the age of 75. The plan is to continue operations on Stadium Road until everyone is vaccinated.

“We like to think that we can get a lot more people through this facility faster, and safer, and still get more vaccines in people’s arms as fast as we can,” commented Perry Sweeten, regional director of pharmacy at Mayo Clinic Health System.

If the pace continues, Mayo Clinic Health System hopes to soon open appointments up to a broader part of the population.

“With our current vaccine allocations, we hope to be to the 65+ by the next 60 days,” Sweeten added.

Sarah Vosburg, a certified pharmacy technician with Mayo Clinic Health System, fills syringes...
Sarah Vosburg, a certified pharmacy technician with Mayo Clinic Health System, fills syringes with the COVID-19 vaccine before they're administered to patients, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, at the clinic's vaccination center in Mankato, Minn. The vaccination center opened Tuesday and plans to vaccinate up to 1,200 patients a day depending on distribution efforts.(KEYC)

The Mayo Clinic Health System says extreme weather conditions may cause delays for their anticipated vaccines. In a statement, they say the “Mayo Clinic has contingency plans in place to contact and reschedule patients if vaccination appointments are affected. Patients with existing appointments who are not contacted to reschedule should assume their vaccination appointments have not been changed.”

UPS says it has extensive contingency plans to complete vaccine deliveries — and drivers are still making pickups and deliveries “where conditions allow” them to stay safe.

FedEx says vaccine deliveries are getting priority — but the weather is impacting much of their network.

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