Vaccine shortages arise across US, halting inoculations in some places

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks during a news conference on Operation Warp Speed and COVID-19 vaccine distribution Tuesday Jan. 12 2021 in Washington

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks during a news conference on Operation Warp Speed and COVID-19 vaccine distribution Tuesday Jan. 12 2021 in Washington

This is problematic for state officials who have been ordered by the federal government to distribute the vaccine. Because of this, the administration was initially holding back those second doses in case there were manufacturing disruptions after the first dose was given.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, appearing at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for the opening of a mass-inoculation site, said Azar and Vice President Mike Pence had committed on a conference call this week with governors to releasing a vaccine reserve that Newsom said had included some 50 million doses stored in MI.

Azar said he plans to stay in his role until January 20, when the president-elect Joe Biden's team takes over.

However, Friday morning, the Washington Post, along with a handful of governors, report there is no vaccine reserve, and no increased supply of vaccine is coming for states who have now increased the number of people eligible for the shot.

Colorado's governor announced during a daily COVID-19 briefing that "there is no national reserve" and his state will get fewer vaccine doses next week than expected.

But in his letter, Azar doesn't mention these numbers, the federal government's failure to warn of a pandemic for weeks, or the greatly delayed rollout of tests that public health experts say slowed the U.S. response during crucial weeks that could have slowed the spread of the virus.

National officials blamed the states, saying that the idea of a large stockpile was a "false rumor" when on Tuesday Azar himself had announced they would begin "releasing the entire supply we have for order by states, rather than holding second doses in physical reserve".

Gov. Brown described the situation as "a deception on a national scale", a sentiment echoed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday. The belief of many in state governments was that the federal government would be able to suddenly ramp up distribution with the new directive.

The news was a shock to governors and health officials across the country who had been hoping to increase the amount of doses they could get into arms. "Federal announcements that 2 dose being held in reserve was going to be released led us to expect 210,000 doses next week, other Govs made similar plans".

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"Operation Warp Speed achieved in nine months what many doubted would be possible in a year and a half or more", Azar said. Azar, however, turned some of the blame on governors.

Additionally, according to tracking data from Bloomberg, 1.78 million more doses were distributed as of Friday than had been on Thursday.

Scattered vaccine shortages cropped up on the frontlines of the US battle against the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, prompting at least one large NY healthcare system to cancel a slew of appointments of people hoping to be inoculated.

President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office on Wednesday, said on Friday he would order increased production of syringes and other supplies to accelerate a vaccine rollout that he has called a "dismal failure".

Azar's letter noted his disappointment over the Capitol riot last week.

Wolf was the third cabinet member to step down, following Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

CNBC said he wrote that "the actions and rhetoric following the election, especially during the past week, threaten to tarnish" the legacies of this administration.

"The attacks on the Capitol were an assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power that the United States of America first brought to the world".

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