Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), who allegedly deceived states on the vaccine supply, receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during an event at the NIH Clinical Center on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.
Enlarge / Alex Azar, secretary of Well being and Human Providers (HHS), who allegedly deceived states on the vaccine provide, receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine throughout an occasion on the NIH Scientific Heart on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.

The Trump administration introduced Tuesday, January 12, that it could start transport reserved vaccine provides, elevating hopes that states might even see their vaccine provide doubtlessly double as they work to speed up the sluggish immunization marketing campaign. However based on a report by The Washington Put up, that promised vaccine stockpile doesn’t truly exist—it was already shipped out—and the restricted vaccine provide out there to states will stay as it’s for now.

The information has not solely left state well being officers offended and confused by the false guarantees, they’re additionally left scrambling to type out distribution modifications. Along with claiming they might launch the (non-existent) stockpile, Trump administration officers instructed states to increase entry to vaccines—now permitting anybody over age 65 to get vaccinated and other people beneath 65 who’ve a documented underlying well being situation that makes them extra weak to COVID-19.

The expanded eligibility covers round 152 million individuals within the US. However administration officers had beforehand estimated that it wouldn’t be till the top of March earlier than they might have 200 million doses—sufficient to vaccinate solely 100 million individuals—as STAT famous earlier.

In simply the few days because the administration introduced the modifications, states have already seen chaos ensue at vaccine distribution websites. Mississippi’s well being division merely stopped taking vaccine appointments after a “monumental surge,” based on the Related Press. Telephone strains had been jammed in Georgia, hospitals in South Carolina ran out of doses inside hours, and California counties had been left begging for additional provides for seniors.

Amid the chaos, the Trump administration isn’t providing clear solutions on what occurred or why officers misled states. In response to the Put up’s reporting, the Trump administration stopped reserving second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on the finish of final 12 months, and the final reserves of Moderna’s vaccine provide had been shipped out over the previous weekend.

There was no stockpile to launch on Tuesday when the Well being and Human Providers secretary mentioned at a press briefing that “as a result of we now have a constant tempo of manufacturing, we are able to now ship the entire doses that had been held in bodily reserve.”

In a Twitter thread Friday morning, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown she was “shocked and appalled” to be taught that the state “is not going to be receiving elevated shipments of vaccines from the nationwide stockpile subsequent week, as a result of there isn’t any federal reserve of doses.”

“[T]hat they’ve set an expectation on which they might not ship, with such grave penalties… It is a deception on a nationwide scale,” Gov. Brown went on.

And there’s extra. Azar additionally mentioned on Tuesday that they might change how they calculated every state’s allotment, making an allowance for the tempo of vaccination in every state. Quick states would get extra doses whereas gradual states could be punished with fewer doses. Azar mentioned the change would take impact in two weeks. Nevertheless, because the Put up notes, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday tweeted that federal officers had notified the state that it could obtain an extra 50,000 doses subsequent week “as a reward for being among the many quickest states.”

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