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VERIFY: Will winter weather delay vaccine deliveries?

The first big storm of the winter slams into the east coast this week. Will that delay companies that are delivering coronavirus vaccines?

WASHINGTON — The rollout of the first coronavirus vaccines times up with the first big winter storm this season.

Will that slow down or delay vaccine distribution?

The first doses of the coronavirus vaccine have already made it to the DC area. Deliveries have already been made to Georgetown Medstar Health.

But how will the winter storm affect further distribution?

Question:

Will the winter storm delay vaccine deliveries?

Answer:

It is possible, but the delivery companies are working on solutions to potential delays.

Our Sources:

FedEx and UPS, the two companies tasked with delivering the coronavirus vaccines.

What We Found:

We asked both FedEx and UPS about potential delays from winter weather. According to Operation Warp Speed,  FedEx is delivering the vaccine to west coast states and UPS does the delivery for the east coast states.

FedEx sent us a statement that said:  

“We have a team of 15 meteorologists monitoring conditions 24/7, and about 185 specialists coordinate the movement of millions of shipments by tracking thousands of flights and trucks every day. For vaccine shipments in the U.S., we are using our SenseAware ID monitoring technology and our Priority Alert service to track their movement throughout the FedEx Express network. This, and the strength and flexibility of the FedEx Express air and ground network, allows us to quickly implement contingency plans to help mitigate any potential delays.”

A UPS official sent a statement that said something similar:

“UPS’s dedicated team of full-time meteorologists monitors weather around the clock, making forecasts that allow our air and ground operations teams to anticipate and respond to changing weather conditions. We develop contingency plans based weather forecasts and local conditions, enabling our employees to safely deliver what matters most. The safety of our employees is always our first focus. Should roadways or airports be closed we will observe all closures and UPS will be ready to deliver as soon as it is safe.”

So, depending on how bad the storm is, it could delay distribution of the vaccine. But both delivery companies have plans in place to deal with potential delays.