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Severe weather across U.S. impacting COVID vaccine shipments

Mark Poloncarz said that with shipments of the vaccine to the state delayed, shipments from New York to providers in Western New York will be delayed too.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Weather conditions across the country have caused delays in shipping the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Friday evening Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement shipments of Pfizer that should've been delivered already but were delayed due to weather are now scheduled to arrive by Monday. 

The governor said delayed shipments of the Moderna vaccine should arrive by the middle of the week.

There are still a lot of questions as to what this means on a local level.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said on Twitter, "Shipments of COVID-19 Vaccine to NY have been delayed by the extreme weather. That means shipments from NY to providers in WNY, like @ECDOH [Erie County Department of Health], will be delayed, too."

Since Erie County only schedules appointments now based on the doses they already have accounted for, there are no cancellations at this point. 

Poloncarz said the ECDOH is hoping to get new doses by midweek. 

In Niagara County, the public health director said the state has not been able to tell them when or if they will get vaccine doses this upcoming week. 

He added that if Niagara County doesn't receive vaccine by Monday morning, they may have to cancel hundreds of appointments.

The Allegany County public health director said in an email Saturday afternoon, "We have not received any additional first or second dose shipments as of today. Last week we did not schedule any new first dose appointments, and we have not had to cancel any appointments as we do not make any appointments until we have vaccine in our hands. We continue to watch the shipping of the vaccine in hopes it will arrive early this week."

He added that registration for first dose clinics will become available as soon as the county receives vaccine. 

On Friday during a COVID-19 briefing, the governor was asked about the delays.

"The White House made it clear that the storm affected many of the transport hubs and that there are delays," he said. "Fed Ex makes many of these deliveries. So we don't yet exactly how many sites got their Fed Ex distribution and how many didn't."

The governor also said, as of Friday night, at state-run facilities, no appointments had been canceled.

Not all county health departments, pharmacies or other outlets that administer vaccines operate the same way so the situation with appointments could vary.