Governor Cuomo, Eight Other Governors Issue Letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Asking for Expedited Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution
Federal Government Reportedly Sitting on More Than Half of U.S. Vaccine Supply
Governors: “Our states are ready to work around the clock to ramp up distribution, get more shots in arms, and save more American lives.”
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and eight other Governors today issued a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Chief Operating Officer General Gustave F. Perna asking that they expedite vaccine distribution throughout the nation. According to a media report, the federal government has yet to distribute more than half of the nation’s vaccine supply. The letter was signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.
The full text of the letter is available below:
January 8, 2021
Dear Secretary Azar and General Perna,
As governors, our administrations are fully committed to delivering the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to our residents as quickly and safely as possible. This work is of the utmost importance to protect the health and wellbeing of America’s working families, so we can return to a strong economy and normal day-to-day activities. We very much appreciate the partnership with Operation Warp Speed (OWS) and are grateful for the vaccines received to date, but our states and residents need more vaccines now. This need is all the more urgent with the onset of the new variant of the virus.
According to publicly reported information, the federal government currently has upwards of 50% of currently produced vaccines held back by the administration for reasons unknown. 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 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.
Reportedly, the holding back of doses has been to prepare to ‘mitigate situations’ in the manufacturing and distribution of vaccines. In December, OWS announced agreements with both Pfizer and Moderna to acquire an additional 100 million vaccine doses from each company, bringing the combined allocations expected to the U.S. government to 400 million doses by the second quarter of the year. These agreements, combined with the expected emergency use authorizations of vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca later this year, should give you the utmost confidence that the manufacturing pipeline is robust, safe, and capable of protecting a majority of the America public in the coming year.
Our states are ready to work around the clock to ramp up distribution, get more shots in arms, and save more American lives. General Perna, as you have stated before, “a vaccine sitting on a shelf is not effective.” We couldn’t agree with you more. That’s why we are asking for your help now. When we work together, we can end this pandemic and return to a life of normalcy sooner.
Our finest medical researchers have made it crystal clear: if we fail, there will be even more dire consequences for our families, our small businesses, and our economy. This is America. There is no challenge we can’t meet. Let’s work together and get it done.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
State of New York
Governor Gavin Newsom
State of California
Governor J.B. Pritzker
State of Illinois
Governor Gretchen Whitmer
State of Michigan
Governor Laura Kelly
State of Kansas
Governor Tim Walz
State of Minnesota
Governor Kate Brown
State of Oregon
Governor Jay Inslee
State of Washington
Governor Tony Evers
State of Wisconsin