Fauci: Vaccine Distribution Should Be Back On Track By Midweek After Storm Delay

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WASHINGTON — The severe winter storms that have devastated Texas and surrounding states have delayed the distribution of 6 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, but Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that it's only a "temporary setback" that will be fixed by the middle of the week. "Obviously, it is a setback, because you'd like to see the steady flow of vaccine getting out there to get into people's arms. But we can play pretty good catch-up," Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview on NBC News' "Meet the Press." "The number was 6 million doses got delayed. We've gotten 2 million out, and we project that by the middle of the week we will have caught up." The brutal weather left millions of people without power as temperatures plummeted. And even as power is returning, broken pipes mean many still lack clean water. President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in 77 counties across Texas, making them eligible for federal recovery funds, and some emergency management officials want to include the entire state in the disaster declaration. The rough weather prompted what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called "widespread delays in Covid-19 vaccine shipments and deliveries." Power failures also forced some health care officials to quickly administer vaccine doses before they spoiled. More than 57 million doses of the vaccines have been administered — with 41 million first doses administered and 16 million people fully vaccinated with the two-dose regimen — according to an NBC News analysis. The average daily number of Covid-19 cases continues to plummet from a post-holiday peak. The U.S. has reported more than 100,000 new daily cases on only one of the last 14 days, a month after it regularly hit more than 200,000 new cases, according to NBC News data. Daily deaths are decreasing, too, but more slowly, still regularly eclipsing 2,000.

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