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article imageCoronavirus vaccine stockpile — 'Deception on a national scale'

By Karen Graham     Jan 17, 2021 in Politics
The governors of several states accused the Trump administration on Friday of deception in pledging to immediately distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses from a stockpile that the U.S. health secretary has since acknowledged does not exist.
Even though Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna vaccines are rolling off the production lines daily, in the United States, a ramped-up national vaccination plan hit a huge glitch almost before it even began. The stockpiles of coronavirus vaccine supposedly being held by the federal government did not exist.
On Tuesday last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the government would begin releasing doses of vaccine that were being held in “physical reserve” to ensure enough supply for second doses, according to CNBC.
Azar said then that the administration was confident enough in the supply chain to release its stockpile, and urged states to use the additional supply to open inoculations to everyone aged 65 and over.
However, the Washington Post reported on Friday that despite Azar’s comments, no such federal stockpile of vaccines exists. The newspaper, citing state and federal officials, said the Trump administration had already started shipping its available supply in December.
After the story in the Washington Post came out, in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, Azar had to concede there wasn't a stockpile of vaccines.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis was appalled by Friday’s revelations. The belief of many in state governments was that the federal government would be able to suddenly ramp up distribution with the new directive.
“I’m shocked we were lied to and there is no national reserve,” he said. “Federal announcements that 2nd dose being held in reserve was going to be released led us to expect 210,000 doses next week, other Govs made similar plans. Now we find out we’ll only get 79,000 next week.”
“Last night I received disturbing news, confirmed to me directly by General (Gustave) Perna of Operation Warp Speed: states will not be receiving increased shipments of vaccines from the national stockpile next week, because there is no federal reserve of doses,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown said on Twitter, according to Reuters.
“This is a deception on a national scale,” Brown added, demanding an explanation from the outgoing administration.
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