The recent winter weather restarting the U.S. has stalled COVID-19 vaccine deliveries and forced vaccination sites to close.
The unforeseen setbacks have influenced all 50 states and left a backlog of about 6 million gallons of vaccine along with 2,000 vaccination websites left without electricity, according to White House senior adviser Andy Slavitt.
"We anticipate that all the backlog doses will be delivered within the following week, with many being delivered over the next several days," Slavitt stated during a press briefing on Friday.
The odds of President Joe Biden's promise of over 600 million doses of vaccine delivered by the end of July could be at risk, but Biden said Friday that he believes normalcy will return by the close of the year.
"God willing, this Christmas will be different than past, but I can not make that commitment to you," said Biden.
On Friday, Biden visited Pfizer's assembly line in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to get a first-hand look at manufacturing.
"Obtaining the vaccine and having it accessible is not the same as putting it in a person's arm," he explained. "This will be a constant rolling attempt ."
Pfizer announced Friday they are taking the time to simplify the distribution process. They have put in a petition to the Food and Drug Administration to allow its own vaccine, which normally requires ultra-cold storageto be stored in regular freezers for as much as two weeks after delivery, allowing vaccines to become widely available.
"If there is 1 message to cut through to everyone in the country, it is this: The vaccines are safe. Take the vaccine when it is your turn and accessible. That's how to beat this pandemic," said Biden.
Los Angeles, facing vaccine shortages due to shipping issues exacerbated by the winter storms, started the very first COVID-19 mass vaccination websites run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the slow down in distribution is harmful to the hard-hit city.
"We're in a race against time, a race between ailments and injections, and anything which slows down our progress is improper," said Garcetti.
Back in North Carolina, 91-year-old Lilly Pena stated she could not get another dose despite waiting in line double.
"I'm very frustrated," she said. "Even I'm angry."