SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- More than 100,000 of Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccine doses are saved from being stranded in the winter weather down south
This comes right after state officials said those vaccine shipments to Massachusetts could be delayed until Monday.
The concern was that appointments for this weekend and next week could be in jeopardy with the shipment delay. Fortunately, state and federal officials worked to get their doses rushed to the Bay State just in time.
"We have accumulating backlog of vaccines that need to be boxed and shipped,” said Andy Slavitt, senior White House adviser for COVID response.
White House officials said winter weather in the south stranded six million COVID-19 vaccine doses meant to be sent nationwide. The doses were delayed out of distribution hubs in Kentucky and Tennessee, including shots intended for Massachusetts.
Extreme winter weather is dealing the first major setback to the Biden administration's planned swift rollout of coronavirus vaccines just as the national vaccination campaign was hitting its stride.
Governor Charlie Baker initially discussed activating the National Guard to retrieve them, but Friday afternoon, he tweeted that federal officials were able to rush a shipment of more than 135,000 doses to the state. He said as a result of the quick work, providers will not have to cancel appointments - a fear he relayed to Congressman Richard Neal
“We were going to have to cancel appointments over the weekend and all of next week,” Neal explained.
Neal told Western Mass News he called the White House and learned more about the hold up.
“The employees who are in charge of packaging the vials can’t get to the worksite,” Neal noted.
However, in the end, Neal said the rush shipment will make its way into the arms of Massachusetts residents
“A big relief for people that were expecting their doses that those are going to arrive,” saud State Sen. Eric Lesser.
Lesser said he is relieved that appointments won't be cancelled but following the technical problems with the state's scheduling system Thursday, he said getting shipments in on time is only half the battle.
“It doesn’t do much good if the vaccine doses arrive in the state if nobody can access them because the appointment system is broken or the website crashes,” Lesser added.