Major snowstorm blankets east coast US closing Covid vaccination centres

A massive winter storm has hit areas on the eastern side of the United States, leaving many cities submerged in snow.

The storm shut down coronavirus vaccination sites, closed schools and halted public transportation as snow piled up from the Appalachians in Virginia to New England in the North East.

Yet more heavy snow is predicted over the next few days.

People making snow angels in Times Square Credit: AP

Parts of northern New England were waiting their turn to be pummelled by the storm, while residents of the New York City region were digging out from under piles of snow.

The National Weather Service said a foot (31cm) or more could be on the ground in New England by the time the snow finally tapers off in the northern-most states on Wednesday evening.

The storm has already disrupted the second phase of Massachusetts’ vaccine rollout as a Boston site that was supposed to open on Monday for residents aged 75 and older did not.

Two young sisters help their mother dig out her car in Pennsylvania Credit: Jacqueline Dormer/Republican-Herald via AP

Some other mass vaccination sites remained open.

The state was expected to get 31-61cm (12 to 18 inches) of heavy, wet snow and wind up to 55mph along the coast, according to governor Charlie Baker.

In Connecticut, governor Ned Lamont said the storm forced the postponement of about 10,000 shots and delayed the state’s weekly resupply of vaccines.

He urged providers that called off vaccination appointments to extend their hours if needed to reschedule the shots by the end of the week.

Along with vaccination delays, the storm caused other problems all along the eastern coast.

A food delivery worker rides his bike through a snow-covered Manhattan Credit: Robert Bumsted/AP

More than 13 inches (33cm) of snow dropped on Manhattan’s Central Park, and as much as 16 inches (41cm) was reported in northern New Jersey.

In Virginia, four firefighters were taken to hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening after their fire engine overturned on snow-covered roads.