Health

Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer asks HHS permission to purchase 100,000 doses directly from Pfizer

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has asked the federal government if the state can go to Pfizer Inc and directly buy 100,000 more doses more of the coronavirus vaccine.

On Monday, Whitmer sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar requesting permission to purchase doses straight from the pharmaceutical company. 

‘This direct purchase will fill a two week lag in supply and ensure that we can continue to ramp up our vaccination efforts across Michigan,’ she wrote.

‘It is also consistent with Operation Warp Speed’s commitment to deliver a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to Americans as quickly as possible.’

However, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still has more than 500,000 doses sitting unused on shelves. 

In the letter, Whitmer asked to buy 100,000 coronavirus vaccine doses directly from Pfizer Inc. Pictured; Azar speaks during a news conference at the White House, August 2020

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (left) sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar (right) on Monday. In the letter, Whitmer asked to buy 100,000 coronavirus vaccine doses directly from Pfizer Inc

Whitmer says the direct purchase 'will fill a two week lag' in the state's supply and all doses will be distributed according to CDC guidelines. Pictured: A nurse holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Los Angeles, January 2021

Whitmer says the direct purchase ‘will fill a two week lag’ in the state’s supply and all doses will be distributed according to CDC guidelines. Pictured: A nurse holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Los Angeles, January 2021 

If approved, Whitmer says the additional vaccine doses would be distributed and administered per CDC guidelines.  

The request comes a hospital systems across the state say they don’t have enough supply to get needles into arms. 

It also coincides with Whitmer expanding vaccine eligibility to include residents aged 65 and older, police officers and other first responders and teachers.  

According to the CDC, the government has distributed 765,900 doses to the state of Michigan since the federal rollout began last month.

This makes Michigan among the top 15 states when it comes to vaccine distribution. 

As of Monday, 222,379 Michiganders have received their first dose – a rate of 2,227 per 100,000 people.

According to CDC data, the federal government has distributed 765,900 doses to Michigan, but only 222,379 doses have been distributed

According to CDC data, the federal government has distributed 765,900 doses to Michigan, but only 222,379 doses have been distributed

The governor's office has not stated if the CDC tracker is incorrect or if there is an unknown bottleneck between supply and distribution

The governor’s office has not stated if the CDC tracker is incorrect or if there is an unknown bottleneck between supply and distribution

That mean an excess of 543,521 doses are currently sitting unused in hospital freezers across the state. 

Therefore, it is not unclear why Whitmer is requesting the extra doses or if there is some unknown bottleneck.

It is also unclear if the CDC’s tracker is inaccurate.

The Press Office of the Governor did not immediately return DailyMail.com’s request for comment,  

Last week, Whitmer urged the Trump administration to release millions of vaccine doses she said had been ‘held back.’

Currently, 50 percent of the government’s supply are not distributed to ensure everyone receives a second dose.

Whitmer – along with Governors Kate Brown (OR); Andrew Cuomo (NY); Tony Evers (WI); Jay Inslee (WA); Laura Kelly (KS); Gavin Newsom (CA); J.B. Pritzker (IL) and  Tim Walz (MN)- sent a letter to the HHS asking that the government not hold back any supply. 

‘Last week, I joined the governors of eight states to ask the Trump Administration to immediately release millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines that it is currently withholding from states,’ Whitmer wrote to Azar.

‘As of the date of this letter, we have not yet received a response. Nevertheless, we remain ready to accelerate distribution to get doses into arms.’

After the letter, President-elect Joe Biden has said he will release the entire federal COVID-19 vaccine stockpile upon taking office on January 21.

It comes as several states abandon CDC guidelines and come up with their own methods of administering the vaccine to people .

According to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, several states are giving priority to healthcare worker and long-term care residents and staff.

However, several states are adding firsr responders, such as police officer and fire fighters, as well as teachers and child care workers.

Others have added all senior citizens to the first phase of the rollout, 

‘Overall, we find states are increasingly diverging from CDC guidance and from each other, suggesting that access to COVID-19 vaccines in these first months of the U.S. vaccine campaign may depend a great deal on where one lives,’ the report read. 


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