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Cuomo addresses COVID vaccine shipping delays

Cuomo said the federal government informed New York that nearly all COVID-19 vaccine doses allocated for Week 10 are delayed due to winter storms.

NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned on a call with reporters Wednesday that some COVID-19 vaccine deliveries from the federal government may be delayed due to storms across the country.

Late Thursday night, Cuomo confirmed that was the case. 

He said in a statement that nearly all COVID-19 vaccine doses allocated for Week 10 are delayed due to the winter storms. 

Those doses were originally scheduled to be delivered between February 12 and February 21.

The statement from the governor reads in part, "Every dose that should have shipped on Monday was held back, and only a limited number of Pfizer vaccines left shipping facilities on Tuesday and Wednesday."

The impact is already being felt locally. 

The Erie County Department of Health has not yet received this week's vaccine allotment from the state and a spokesperson told 2 On Your Side they haven't been informed of what next week's allotment will be.

At the county's points of distribution clinics, appointments are only scheduled now based on vaccines that the ECDOH has available and the spokesperson added the county has no first-dose clinics scheduled at this time.

This comes as Erie County is still working to reschedule appointments that were canceled in January due to lack of supply. 

In Niagara County, the public health director told 2 On Your Side that they too have not received this week's allocation and that they don't know what they're getting next week either.

He added if they don't get something soon, they'll likely have to cancel upcoming appointments.

It appears Allegany County is in a similar situation. A release from Wednesday reads in part:

"The Allegany County Department of Health will NOT be holding a first dose COVID-19 Vaccine Point-of Distribution (POD) clinic this week due to inclement weather and a delayed shipment of the Moderna vaccine. We plan to hold a larger P.O.D. (clinic) next week if the vaccine is available."

The statement went onto say second dose vaccines will still be offered Friday at the Allegany County Building.

This was also the first week people with certain comorbidities became eligible for the vaccine in New York State. More info here

In Erie County, officials planned on distributing the doses they receive for that category to hospitals for their most at-risk patients.

A spokesperson with Roswell Park said in a statement, "Roswell Park anticipates a 100 dose allocation from Erie County this week, however this supply has not arrived yet due to poor weather conditions from its originating location."

Gov. Cuomo concluded his statement on the delays saying in part:

"This delay will undoubtedly pose a logistical challenge for New York — but as we have shown over the last 350-plus days, we are New York Tough, and we are up to the challenge. The Department of Health is working closely with all providers, including local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, and FQHCs to minimize the impact on their operations and reduce the number of appointments that must be rescheduled. The vaccine is the weapon that will win the war against COVID, and we will continue to work with our federal partners to expedite the delayed shipments and will keep New Yorkers updated over the coming days."