DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. Jared Polis on Friday said the Trump administration showed “gross incompetence” when it provided false information about the existence of a federal vaccine reserve.
“Today I come before you extremely disappointed that we were lied to with plans of the administration to release reserved doses that were to be the second doses of the vaccine,” he said in a news conference.READ MORE: Denver Public Schools To Discuss Extension To School Year
The criticism came three days after the administration announced the federal government would begin releasing second doses of the vaccine being held in a reserve. It was later discovered that the administration had already started shipping the available doses at the end of December, depleting any reserves along with the hopes that states would receive double the supply in the coming weeks.
Earlier this week, Heath and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar stood before cameras and said the federal government would be releasing their stockpile of doses to the states for distribution.
“We are releasing the entire supply we have for order by states, rather than holding second doses in physical reserve,” Azar said.
However, days later state governors were notified that the supply was distributed at the end of 2020, and little-to-no vaccines were remaining in excess and storage.
“I was informed by General (Gustave) Perna today that there is no federal reserve of doses,” Polis said. “They anticipate that every second dose will be delivered but it will be delivered in the future off of the supply chain. And so there is no influx of doses contrary to a call we had with the vice president, the secretary of health, three days ago, where they informed us we will be getting an additional quantity available to the states. There is not that additional quantity available for any state.”
Polis said states like Colorado were expecting to get 210,000 doses next week. Now Colorado is finding out there will only be 79,000 doses. Polis said the state can expect to finish out the month administering the current rate.
“We anticipate about 70,000 per week,” Polis said. “We were led to believe just a few days ago the federal government was going to release their stockpile of second doses. That would have equated to about three weeks supply in one week for Colorado — about 210,000 or so doses. And that was unfortunately not true. And we were ready to deploy it right away. And now we know that it simply doesn’t exist.”Hunting, Fishing Applications Open In Colorado
A White House administration official said states have still not ordered all of the doses allocated to them, and called it a problem with states’ expectations.
Colorado’s goal is to give vaccines to 70% of residents 70 and older by the end of February. Polis said the additional supply would have covered half of the 70-and-over population in the state.
Polis said about 50,000 Colorado residents 70 and older have already received the vaccine.
“I’m still confident we’ll meet our initial timeline because we did base that on the conservative figures of what we knew we could expect through the normal supply chain,” he said.
Colorado is expecting shipments of 34,700 Moderna and 35,100 Pfizer doses over each of the next two weeks, Polis said. In mid-February, officials expect supply to increase but Polis warned, “we have been misled before.”
“To make the vaccine work, it has got to be used,” Polis said. “We have 530,000 Coloradans over the age of 70. The quicker we can vaccinate people the quicker we can end the pandemic and save lives.”
Polis also said 64,500 Colorado health care workers have been vaccinated and 48,000 have received their second dose.
The governor also announced he would be issuing an executive order that would prevent health care providers from charging any copays or fees for coronavirus vaccines.MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Update: Some May See Even More Money From Potential Economic Relief Package
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