Michigan's vaccine shipments delayed by weather conditions

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Officials are urging residents to confirm their COVID-19 appointments because winter storm conditions in Kentucky and Tennessee are delaying vaccine shipments to the state, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified Michigan on Wednesday of shipment delays due to weather conditions of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The delays are affecting shipments across the country.

Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant in Portage on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020.

Pfizer vaccines were not shipped out on Monday due to the weather but some shipments are being processed this week.

Moderna vaccines were not shipped on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Severe weather affected a Moderna vaccine distribution center in Memphis, Tennessee, from air and ground transportation to the workforce, including those who pack and sort the vaccine. 

“We ask that Michiganders confirm their appointments prior to traveling and to have patience as providers seek to reschedule any appointments,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Unfortunately, distribution of the vaccine in this circumstance is simply out of our control. Vaccine providers across the state are working hard to get 70% of Michiganders age 16 and older vaccinated with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible.”

Numerous Moderna vaccine shipments were pulled back to their distribution center because of inability to deliver because of the weather conditions. Some were repacked and sent Sunday for Monday delivery. Remaining shipments will be rescheduled after weather conditions are more favorable.

State officials said it was not clear if any Moderna orders will be shipped Thursday for delivery on Friday. The state health department said it will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as more information is learned.

State officials said updated information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.