New York City has fewer than 1,000 Covid-19 doses on hand because of shipment delays caused by snowstorms across the country, the city reported on Saturday.
The delays brought the city’s “entire vaccination effort” to a “standstill,” Avery Cohen, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, wrote on Twitter.
Vicious winter weather has snarled vaccine deliveries nationwide. The White House estimated that the weather had created a backlog of six million doses, and pleaded with local officials to extend hours at vaccination site and schedule additional appointments. The bad weather has slowed two vaccine shipping hubs — a FedEx center in Memphis and a UPS site in Louisville. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency said this week that more than 2,000 vaccine sites were in areas with power outages.
In Texas, where millions of residents lost power during this week’s powerful storm, state health officials said that more than 100,000 first doses and 300,000 second doses that were supposed to be delivered this week were still waiting to be shipped to Texas from out-of-state-warehouses, citing data from the federal vaccine tracking system. The missed doses are expected to be delivered during the first half of next week.
In the Houston area, some vaccination sites began reopening at the end of this week. A mass FEMA vaccination site at NRG Park will open for the first time on Tuesday, and is expected to vaccinate 42,000 people per week, Lina Hidalgo, a judge in Harris County, said on Thursday.
Mr. de Blasio said on Friday that New York City had delayed scheduling up to 35,000 first dose appointments because of the shortage. As New Yorkers faced another snowstorm at the end of the week, messages on social media reported that some people who had trekked to city hospitals for their appointments had been turned away because of low supplies.
Despite the delays, New York State is still scheduling appointments for new mass vaccination sites opening in Brooklyn and Queens on Feb. 24, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
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. ZIP code data released on Tuesday showed drastic disparities between vaccination rates in whiter areas of New York City as compared with predominantly Black neighborhoods.
Lots of vaccine appointments now available at the new Medgar Evers College vax site in Brooklyn for eligible New Yorkers in the following ZIPs:
11206, 11221, 11216, 11238, 11225, 11213, 11233, 11207, 11208, 11236, 11212, 11203, 11226, 11210
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) February 20, 2021
Mr. Cuomo said in a statement on Friday that he expected the FEMA sites would have “a dramatic impact on some of our hardest hit communities.”
Eligible New Yorkers who meet residency requirements for the new vaccination sites can schedule appointments through the state’s website, or by calling 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829.)