U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Grants MI Request for Release of Millions of Doses of COVID Vaccine

In a rapid response to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and eight other U.S. governors, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this morning has announced that they will grant their requests and release the millions of doses of the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine currently being held back by the Trump Administration. HHS also announced that they will follow Michigan’s lead, recommending that states open up vaccinations to Americans age 65 and up, a move that Governor Whitmer announced last week.

Gov. Whitmer responded to the news by saying, “Michigan and states across the country remain ready to get more shots in arms, which is why the Trump Administration’s decision to grant our request and release millions of doses of the vaccine is so crucial.” She adds, “It will take all of us – the federal government, state and local leaders, health departments, and everyday Americans – to ensure everyone can get the safe and effective vaccine. There is still more work to do, which is why yesterday, I sent a letter to the Trump Administration requesting permission to directly purchase up to 100,000 doses of the vaccine for the state of Michigan. I am eager to hear back from the federal government regarding my request, and will continue to work with them and leaders everywhere to end this pandemic and save lives.”

Last week, Governors Gretchen Whitmer, Gavin Newsom of California, Laura Kelly of Kansas, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Tim Walz of Minnesota, Andrew Cuomo of New York, Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Jay Inslee of Washsington,  and Kate Brown from Oregon sent a letter to Secretary Azar and General Perna requesting that the federal government distribute the millions of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses that are currently being held back by the Trump Administration.

According to publicly reported information, the federal government currently has upwards of 50-percent of currently produced vaccines held back by the administration for reasons unknown. After the governors sent the letter, the incoming Biden administration announced that they will release all of the available vaccine doses that the Trump Administration is holding back.

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Yesterday, Michigan entered a new phase of vaccine distribution, and began offering vaccine to Michigan residents age 65 and older; frontline essential workers including police officers, first responders, frontline state and federal workers and jail and prison staff; and pre K-12 educators, support staff, and childcare providers.

To learn more about Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts, you can visit http://Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.