Winter Storm Blast Slams Texas and Delays Vaccine Shipments

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This week’s winter storm has hit areas all over the country with Texas being the center of attention as millions of residents have lost power in their homes and struggle to keep warm. Vaccine sites and transports have also been affected and it is unknown when people will be able to get their dose.

In Texas, over 4 million people were without power as the winter storm hit many areas. The millions of consumers are at homes trying to stay warm in any way possible with sealing the doors and windows of their house to staying in cars to keep warm.

“The performance of wind and solar is way down the list among the smaller factors in the disaster that we’re facing,” said Daniel Cohan, associate professor of environmental engineering at Rice University.

This power outage has begun the debate of whether Texas’s wind turbines being frozen are to blame for the outages. More than half of Texas’s wind turbines have frozen over with the sudden winter storm and have stopped producing power. However, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said that less than 13 percent of the outage was from the wind turbines.

The heavy reliance of natural gas in Texas has seemed to be the biggest culprit of the power outages. According to the Texas Tribune, natural gas production has been down due to the freezing conditions. Natural gas, along with coal and nuclear power, make up 80 percent of Texas’s power supply which is now down to 234 counties in the state.

“Due to the severe winter weather currently impacting a large swath of the country, the U.S. government is projecting widespread delays in COVID-19 vaccine shipments and deliveries over the next few days,” said Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Due to the winter storm hitting all across the U.S, many of the shipments of the covid-19 vaccine have been delayed, as well as, many vaccination sites closing due to the road conditions. Many centers in Texas that house the vaccines rushed to transport them because of the power outages affecting the chances of them spoiling.

Harris county, Texas was one area who had this issue and had to administer close to 1,000 doses of the vaccine to students at Rice University to ensure that they wouldn’t spoil. The remaining doses were later re-refrigerated according to a spokesman from the county to the Washington Post.

Apart from the transportation problems due to the storm, vaccine scheduling and temperature monitoring of the vaccines were affected because of the internet being down in many areas along with power outages.