DETROIT – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office is refuting recent reporting that Michigan left hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses unordered from the federal government as members of the state’s congressional delegation pleaded for more vaccines.
Recent reporting in the Washington Post citing an administration official of President Joe Biden states that Michigan left 360,000 doses of the vaccine in federal stocks.
“The article is incorrect,” said Whitmer’s Press Secretary, Robert Leddy on Friday.
Leddy stated that the newspaper received a single day “snapshot” that did not accurately reflect how states allocate doses and that Michigan was offered 347,000 doses rather than 360,000.
According to Leddy, the state’s ordering process also called its draw down begins mid-week, usually Wednesday when the state is notified about how many doses will be available. The state doesn’t officially submit its draw down request until the following day and it could take another day for the submitted request to be accepted by federal officials, leaving no doses unaccepted.
In a press conference Friday Michigan’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said she had been told by White House officials that the state’s draw down was up to par.
“We do allocate and order down all the vaccines that are accessible to us,” she said.
“We actually met with the White House team yesterday and walked through our entire ordering strategy, when we ordered what and when. So when it’s very clear and they agree with us that we are ordering all of the vaccines that are available to us.”
Local 4 News was unable to immediately confirm that with White House officials.
Right now the state has been given nearly 5.7 million vaccine doses with 5.1 million already administered. As of April 10 nearly 25 percent of all Michigan residents were fully vaccinated.
The back and forth over the state’s draw down came as nearly all of Michigan’s members of Congress called on the Biden Administration to send a surge of vaccines to Michigan, which has been experiencing the worse spike in cases nationwide.
In a bipartisan letter, nine members of Michigan’s delegation wrote, “While we recognize the need to ensure Americans have access to the vaccine across the county, the reality is that states with vastly larger populations are experiencing half the infection rates as Michigan.”
The letter was signed by Republicans Bill Huizenga, Peter Meijer, Time Walberg, Jack Bergman, Fred Upton, Lisa McClain and Democrats Andy Levin, Brenda Lawrence, and John Moolenar.
The request however will likely fall on deaf ears. In recent calls with the White House COVID-19 Response Team, Whitmer requested a similar surge in vaccinations but was rebuffed by officials.
Instead the Biden Administration said it intends to send vaccinators to Michigan to help get more doses distributed with the hopes of vaccinating additional people to outpace the spread of the virus.
In a press conference Friday, Whitmer said she was still hoping for more vaccines, particularly the single shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine citing issues with getting people to return for their second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
She also encouraged the federal government to reconsider its distribution plan as more states experience another round of spiking cases.
“Today it’s Michigan and the Midwest. Tomorrow it could be another section of our country,” she said. “I really believe that the most important thing we can do is put our efforts into squelching where the hot spots are.”