Severe winter weather across the United States continues to affect the federal government’s shipments of COVID-19 vaccines to providers in Maryland and other states. This may have a significant impact on providers’ ability to hold clinics as scheduled.

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has directly shared with local leaders and vaccine providers the following updates from CDC regarding federal vaccine shipments:

February 17:

Moderna vaccine: Moderna vaccines were not shipped on Monday February 15 or Tuesday February 16, and will most likely not ship today, February 17, due to adverse weather conditions. We are working with McKesson and our shipping partners to resume operations as soon as the weather abates. We anticipate a significant back log of orders for distribution once operations resume and every effort will be made to catch up as soon as possible while safely delivering the vaccines.

  • Last week, a number of Moderna vaccine shipments were pulled back to the McKesson depots because they were unable to be delivered due to weather conditions. A small number of these shipments were repacked and sent out on Sunday for delivery on Monday, February 15. For the remaining shipments, McKesson will be reaching out to awardees to reschedule vaccine deliveries once weather conditions allow shipment to resume.

Pfizer vaccine: Pfizer vaccines were not shipped out on Monday, February 15 due to weather conditions. A limited number of Pfizer vaccine shipments were processed Tuesday February 16 and a similar plan is in effect for today, February 17.

We appreciate your patience as we continue to monitor weather conditions and consult with our industry partners about the best approach for ensuring successful COVID-19 vaccine shipments. There is an expectation that delays related to this historic weather event will continue through this week. We will continue to update you regarding adverse weather conditions as well as how the resumption of shipping will proceed as weather permits.

February 18:

Due to the severe winter weather currently impacting various parts of the country, we anticipate delays in COVID-19 vaccine shipments and deliveries. Please note that the delays have also impacted some deliveries through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. The Federal government continues to assess weather conditions and to help mitigate potential delivery delays and cancellations.

Our goal is to ensure vaccine distribution across all jurisdictions is as stable and equitable as possible through this program, and we will continue to work closely with jurisdictions and pharmacy partners to achieve this goal. Please let your CDC regional team know if you have questions.

Of note, the CDC has stated that second doses may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose.

MDH will continue to provide updates on weather-related delays to the federal government’s vaccine shipments as more information becomes available.

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