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White House to deliver 6M vaccine doses delayed by winter storm this week

White House to deliver 6M vaccine doses delayed by winter storm this week
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday that the White House plans to "rapidly catch up" and complete delivery of 6 million doses delayed by the winter storm that affected much of the nation this week. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The White House on Sunday said that it expects to complete delivery of 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine delayed by the winter storm that has swept across the nation by this upcoming week.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told ABC News' This Week that President Joe Biden's administration plans to "rapidly catch up this week" and that 2 million doses have already been delivered.

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"We knew we can't control mother nature, no one can, but we can certainly contingency plan," Psaki said. "What our team has been doing and preparing to do is engage with and work with the Postal Service, work with FedEx and others to get those doses out to vaccination centers and to communities as quickly as they can handle them."

On Friday, Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for COVID response, said more than 2,000 vaccine sites were in areas that had lost power due to the bad weather and were unable to receive doses.

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The United States has administered 63,090,634 vaccine doses including 43,628,092 people who have received one or more doses and 18,865,319 who have received two doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told NBC News' Meet The Press described the backlog as an unfortunate but temporary setback.

"When you just ... put your foot to the accelerator and really push, we'll get it up to where we need to be by the middle of the week," he said.

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Fauci also described it as "stunning" that the United States is drawing near to 500,000 deaths about a year after the emergence of the coronavirus.

"It is historic. We haven't seen anything even close to this for well over 100 years since the 1918 pandemic of influenza. It's something that -- it's stunning when you look at the numbers. Almost unbelievable but it's true. This is a devastating pandemic. And it's historic. People will be talking about this decades and decades and decades from now," he said.

The United States has recorded 498,514 deaths and 28,119,533 cases, leading the world in both totals, after reporting 70,646 new cases and 1,793 fatalities through Saturday, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University.

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California leads the nation with 3,441,946 cases and 49,105 deaths, reporting 6,760 new fatalities and 280 deaths on Sunday.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom said Sunday that the state has administered 7.3 million COVID-19 vaccines after announcing on Friday that the state will set aside 10% of its vaccine doses for educators.

Texas, which has been devastated by the winter storm that left as many as 3 million people without power at its height, reported 3,617 new cases and 130 new deaths, ranking second in infections with 2,245,643 and third in fatalities at 41,343.

The state is set to receive 600,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine next week as it recovers from the storm.

Florida ranks third with 1,868,772 infections, reporting 5,065 new cases on Sunday while adding 93 resident deaths for a toll of 29,906

Fourth place New York added 6,610 cases, bringing its total since the start of the pandemic to 1,578,785 while adding 75 new deaths for the nation's second-highest total at 47,019.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that the state had administered 92% of first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for a total of 2,206,988, while 1,126,128 second doses have been administered.

Illinois ranks fifth in cases, adding 1,585 infections for a total of 1,174,409 and 35 deaths totaling 20,269.

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