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Storm, power outages impact vaccine distribution

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Yahoo Finance’s Julie Hyman, Brian Sozzi, Myles Udland, and Anjalee Khemlani discuss how the storms across the U.S. are impacting the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: The Federal government spent millions of dollars-- hundreds of millions of dollars, in fact-- on rapid tests to detect COVID-19. But it doesn't look like those tests are being used. Our Anjalee Khemlani is here with more details on this story. Anjalee.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Thanks, Julie. We know that the rapid antigen tests from Abbott were purchased in mass by the federal government last year with hopes to distribute it not just to nursing homes where they were sent but also throughout the country, hoping that this would help with re-openings and schools, et cetera. But they're sitting aside and not really being used, in large part because of two reasons.

One, there were concerns over accuracy last year. And that, while it's been resolved, others are also looking at the idea that they weren't sure about supply and when more would be coming in, so just to hang on to the supply that came in while they could. Meanwhile, we know that, generally, the trend for testing has gone down a little bit. I've spoken to some experts about this last week who said specifically that there seems to be less tension and sort of a focus on testing overall, in large part because of the vaccines that are now rolling out. And that's where all the focus is.

Speaking of, we now know that vaccines continue to be distributed and administered at a really good pace, but the winter storms right now are really adding to sort of the hurdles and frustration over this chaotic distribution, with cancellations of appointments, delayed flights, and distribution and transportation. We also know that while some of the companies have faced some supply issues when it comes to raw materials or just functionally within the production pipeline, the production in the plans, we know that they are trying to increase, specifically with Moderna and Pfizer, with their new technology and the hurdles of ramping up there. We also know that by the end of the month, we're waiting to hear about Johnson and Johnson's vaccine, that single-shot vaccine.

So all in all, still a lot more confusion and chaos with the vaccine rollout because of the winter weather. This is something that the transportation companies had talked about anticipating, but also having plans in place to be able to overcome where they can. But obviously, you can't really get over ice in some places. Julie.

JULIE HYMAN: No, you cannot. It is quite a tricky problem. Thanks, Anjalee.