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WASHINGTON – Severe winter storms that devastated Texas and surrounding states have delayed the distribution of 6 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, but Dr Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that it was only a “temporary setback” which will be corrected by the middle of the week.

“Obviously that’s a setback, because you’d love to see the steady stream of vaccines coming into people’s arms. But we can do a really good catch up,” Fauci, director of the National Allergy Institute. and infectious disease, said in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press”.

“The number was 6 million delayed doses. We released 2 million, and we expect that by the middle of the week we will have caught up.”

The brutal weather left millions of people without electricity as temperatures dropped. And even with the return of electricity, broken pipes mean that many still lack clean water. President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster in 77 counties in Texas, making them eligible for federal recovery funds, and some emergency management officials want to include the entire state in the disaster declaration.

The bad weather has caused what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called “widespread delays in shipments and deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines.” The power outages have also forced some health officials to quickly administer doses of the vaccine before they spoil.

More than 57 million doses of the vaccine have been administered – with 41 million first doses given and 16 million people fully vaccinated with the two-dose regimen – according to an NBC News analysis.

The average daily number of Covid-19 cases continues to drop from a post-holiday peak. The United States has reported more than 100,000 new cases daily in just one of the past 14 days, a month after regularly hitting more than 200,000 new cases, according to data from NBC News. Daily deaths are also declining, but more slowly, still steadily eclipsing 2,000.

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