The president’s visit to the Pfizer plant comes amid extreme winter weather that hinders the timely delivery of vaccines across the country.
The extreme winter weather was the first major obstacle to a nationwide coronavirus vaccination plan introduced by the Joe Biden administration. As the White House deals with vaccine supply disruptions related to freezing temperatures, snow, and icy roads, President Joe Biden visited Pfizer’s vaccine manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The president’s visit to the plant was postponed for one day due to bad weather in the American capital, the Associated Press reports.
Biden met with employees of the plant that produces one of the two federally approved COVID-19 vaccines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since December 11, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency authorization to use a drug made by Pfizer, this two-dose vaccine has been administered about 30 million times in the United States.
Due to the bad weather that has settled in most of the country – from Texas to New England – vaccination points have been closed, and there have been delays in the delivery of new doses.
White House adviser on the coronavirus pandemic, Andy Slavitt, said on Friday that bad weather had led to a three-day delay in vaccine deliveries, amounting to about 6 million doses. According to Slavitt, the federal center sent about 1.4 million doses to the states on Friday, and the remaining undelivered vaccines will be sent in the coming days.
The federal government also announced the opening of five new mass vaccination centers – one in Philadelphia and four more in the largest cities in Florida: Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the White House is closely monitoring the impact of bad weather on vaccine shipments and is working with manufacturers, shipping companies, and state authorities to speed up the vaccination process.