Eight governors call on feds to immediately send out vaccine doses now in reserve

A group of eight governors is calling on the Trump administration to release coronavirus vaccine doses that are currently being held in reserve to states that request them immediately.

The Trump administration’s current strategy is to hold back half of the available doses of vaccine to ensure that there is enough supply for everyone who gets the first dose to get a second dose. 

But the governors, all Democrats, say that it does not make sense to have vaccine sitting in freezers, and the reserved doses should be distributed, with the confidence that enough doses will be manufactured to provide for second doses down the line.

“While some of these life-saving vaccines are sitting in Pfizer freezers, our nation is losing 2,661 Americans each day, according to the latest seven-day average,” the governors wrote in a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Gen. Gustave Perna of Operation Warp Speed. “The failure to distribute these doses to states who request them is unconscionable and unacceptable. We demand that the federal government begin distributing these reserved doses to states immediately.”

The governors signing the letter are Michigan’s Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerAt least 6 GOP legislators took part in Trump-inspired protests State capitals come under siege by pro-Trump mobs The Memo: Toxic divide grew deeper in 2020 MORE, California’s Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomNewsom proposes 0 state stimulus checks for low-income Californians California COVID-19 cases surge past previous one-day record Massachusetts to require 100 percent of car sales to be electric by 2035 MORE, Kansas’s Laura Kelly, Illinois’s J.B. Pritzker, Minnesota’s Tim WalzTim WalzMinnesota bar vows to stay open despite lawsuit, ban on indoor dining Minnesota man sentenced to life as juvenile is freed from prison More than 150 Minnesota businesses vow to defy governor’s shutdown order MORE, New York’s Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoGovernors respond to violence at Capitol Trump administration accelerating launch of COVID-19 vaccinations in pharmacies Cuomo’s dangerous courthouse law is based on fiction MORE, Washington’s Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeAt least 6 GOP legislators took part in Trump-inspired protests State capitals come under siege by pro-Trump mobs Washington state extends ban on indoor dining MORE, and Wisconsin’s Tony EversTony EversMarquette men’s basketball team wears black uniforms to protest Jacob Blake decision Wisconsin governor slams decision to not charge officers in Jacob Blake shooting Kenosha DA says no charges to be filed against police officers involved in Jacob Blake shooting MORE

The Trump administration, though, indicated that it is not going to change its strategy of holding second doses in reserve, and responded that states have not administered all of the doses they have received already.

“Operation Warp Speed is continuing to ensure second doses are available to vaccine administration sites, at appropriate intervals, as directed by jurisdiction leaders,” a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said. “We would be delighted to learn that jurisdictions have actually administered many more doses than they are presently reporting.”

The Trump administration is encouraging states to expand the categories of people eligible for the vaccine doses as a way to speed up the process and ensure tight criteria are not slowing it down. 

The back and forth between the states and the federal government comes as the initial vaccine rollout has gone slower than expected. So far, about 6 million out of roughly 21 million doses distributed have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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