No delays in vaccine shipments to RI and Mass., for now

Coronavirus
12 on 12: Vaccine 101

BOSTON (WPRI) — Despite initial concerns that Massachusetts was going to see a delay in vaccine shipments, the state received 135,025 doses Friday, meaning no appointments had to be canceled.

The situation is similar in Rhode Island. The R.I. Department of Health said there have been no delays locally so far, and they remain optimistic that there won’t be later on.

“There’s been no news to us relative to any type of delays that we’re concerned about,” R.I. National Guard Gen. Christopher Callahan said.

The concern over delayed vaccine shipments started once wintry weather began slamming states across the country, including Texas and Louisiana. The winter storm has ravished the south and has caused backups in vaccine delivery across the country.

Andy Slavitt, a senior advisor for the White House, said the country’s vaccine rollout is backed up roughly three days because of the storm.

“As of now, we have a backlog of about 6 million doses due to the weather,” he said.

When delays became a concern for Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker considered potentially deploying the Massachusetts National Guard to Tennessee to retrieve the doses.

“We can’t go almost a week without getting any new doses from the feds,” Baker said.

Callahan said if Rhode Island were to experience a delay in vaccine shipments, they would do the same thing.

“If it does come to fruition, then a team will get together and we’ll get after it,” he said.

While some states are experiencing delays in their vaccine rollouts, others have been able to keep on track based on existing inventory, Slavitt said.

Rhode Island typically receives its vaccine shipment in the beginning of each week, so it’s unclear how this nationwide backlog might affect future logistics.

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