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Fauci: COVID-19 vaccines ship after weather delays

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday said the

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday said the South African COVID-19 variant has been found in a Nassau County resident - the first case of the variant contracted by someone living in New York. Newsday's Steve Langford reports. Credit: Newsday / Raychel Brightman; Twitter / @NassauExecutive; YouTube / Governor Andrew Cuomo;

The mass vaccination campaign against the coronavirus should get back up to speed in the next few days after brutal winter weather slowed the distribution of doses last week, the nation's top infectious disease expert said Sunday.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said some six million doses were delayed last week as winter storms pummeled large swaths of the country. But two million of those doses have since shipped, and the remaining four million should be en route to vaccination sites within the next few days.

"It's unfortunate that it was a setback," Fauci said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "But we can play pretty good catch-up," he said. "We'll get it up to where we need to be by the middle of the week."

In New York, storms delayed shipments of vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna alike, slowing a statewide inoculation effort already hampered by limited supply of the vials. But in a news release Friday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the state has received word those outstanding shipments should arrive this week.

By Sunday, the state had received some 3.7 million doses and administered 3.3 million of them, a rate of 89%, according to a news release from the governor's office.

Vaccines have been administered at about the same rate on Long Island, where 469,000 doses have been received and 417,000 administered.

New York could be vaccinating more people but a limited supply of doses continues to hamstring the inoculation effort, officials said.

"Through our expansive network of vaccine providers, New York is ready to administer as many as 100,000 doses a day. However, for that to happen, it's not only going to require continued supply increases from the federal government, but we also must keep working to build trust in the vaccine, especially in communities of color," Cuomo said in a statement Sunday.

"The vaccine is the key to reaching the light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "It's safe, it's effective and it will defeat COVID, just as long as everybody buys in and we will keep doing everything possible to make that happen."