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

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

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“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 Whitmer'SNL' envisions Fauci as game show host, giving winners vaccines Two men charged with making threatening calls to Michigan officials Biden sparks Twitter debate over pronunciation of Midwest supermarket chain MORE, California’s Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Lockdowns are conservatives' opportunity of a lifetime Padilla has 'big Chuck Taylors to fill' in replacing Harris MORE, Kansas’s Laura Kelly, Illinois’s J.B. Pritzker, Minnesota’s Tim WalzTim WalzJudge limits courtroom to one George Floyd family member at a time during Chauvin trial Minneapolis beefs up security ahead of former officer's trial in George Floyd death Officials: Barr blocked officer plea deal in George Floyd death MORE, New York’s Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoMajority of New York voters say Cuomo should not be reelected: poll Gillibrand: Cuomo allegations 'completely unacceptable' NY lawmakers agree to strip Cuomo of pandemic-related emergency powers MORE, Washington’s Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeWashington state officials warn providers offering VIP vaccine access Legislators go after governors to rein in COVID-19 powers Inslee rebukes hospital over vaccine appointments for donors MORE, and Wisconsin’s Tony EversTony EversDemocrats must prepare now for a contested 2024 election Wisconsin legislation would ban transgender athletes through college level Wisconsin bill would require playing of national anthem at taxpayer-funded venues 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.