Bipartisan governors ask Trump for help with COVID vaccine distribution plan
The bipartisan leaders of the National Governors Association on Thursday requested a meeting with President Trump to discuss “the roles and expectations of states” for the successful distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.
States are pleading with the Trump administration for more guidance on the logistics of a mass vaccination campaign, just one day before the deadline to submit draft distribution plans for a potential coronavirus vaccine.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) in the letter said they still had specific questions about “the delineation of federal and state responsibilities; the funding needs associated with those responsibilities; and the planned supply chain management and vaccine allocation process.”
The Trump administration in September outlined a strategy to purchase and deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses to the American people as quickly as possible.
Officials also released a detailed playbook for state, tribal and local health departments, and set an Oct. 16 deadline for states to submit detailed plans of their own, including information on vaccination sites and other logistics.
The federal government has ceded most of the planning to states, which face a host of unprecedented challenges in an extremely compressed timeframe.
Some variables won’t be known until a vaccine is authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration, such as populations for whom a given vaccine is most appropriate, distribution and storage requirements, dosage requirements and other variables.
The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed is aimed at developing and delivering a COVID-19 vaccine to the public in record time through contracts with seven different drugmakers. While some of the leading vaccine candidates have moved into large phase three trials, it’s still not clear if any of the vaccines sponsored by the administration will be successful.
A federal panel that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will eventually recommend who should get the initial doses of a limited COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available, but states will have the flexibility to administer a vaccine based on local needs.