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Winter weather slows COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Pfizer Vaccine
Posted at 5:02 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 14:21:15-05

Snow and record low temperatures have stalled shipments and deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines across the United States and may create delays for those set to get their second dose. Others scheduled to get their first shot may have had their appointment canceled.

Both vaccines on the market require two doses, intended to be given 21 days apart for Pfizer and 28 days apart for Moderna. If your appointment for a second vaccine dose was canceled because of weather delays or power outages, the CDC says you should still have time to get fully vaccinated. The second dose can be administered up to six weeks after the first shot.

"We're asking vaccine administration sites to extend their hours even further and offer additional appointments and to try and reschedule the vaccinations over the coming days and weeks as significantly more supply arrives," said Andy Slavitt, Senior White House advisor for COVID-19 response.

Two letters to major medical journals provided fuel for the argument that with coronavirus vaccine scarcity, people can skip their second doses, immediately doubling the supply for others. But top US health officials say it's too risky.

"The reason is even though you can get a fair degree of 'protection' after a single dose, it clearly is not durable," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Last week, vaccination numbers were impacted because of the weather. As everything begins to get back on track, White House officials are asking states, vaccination sites and those giving vaccinations to help the country catch up.

The White House announced over the next two weeks, five new COVID-19 vaccination centers will be opening in Florida and Pennsylvania. Those sites were chosen for their ability to help target vaccinations to those who are most vulnerable.