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Governor Whitmer, Coalition of Governors Urge the Federal Government to Release Vaccines to States


January 7, 2021 

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Governor Whitmer, Coalition of Governors Urge the Federal Government to Release Vaccines to States 


LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governors Gretchen Whitmer, Gavin Newsom (CA), Laura Kelly (KS), J.B. Pritzker (IL), Tim Walz (MN), Andrew Cuomo (NY), Tony Evers (WI), and Jay Inslee (WA) sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Operation Warp Speed Chief Operating Officer General Gustave 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% of currently produced vaccines held back by the administration for reasons unknown.  


"Our states are ready to work around the clock to ramp up distribution, get more shots in arms, and save more American lives," the governors said. "General Perna, as you have stated before, 'a vaccine sitting on a shelf is not effective.' We couldn't agree with you more. That's why we are asking for your help now. When we work together, we can end this pandemic and return to a life of normalcy sooner. Our finest medical researchers have made it crystal clear: if we fail, there will be even more dire consequences for our families, our small businesses, and our economy. This is America. There is no challenge we can't meet. Let's work together and get it done." 


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, led by Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, has been working around the clock with health systems and local health departments across the state to distribute the vaccine to Michiganders. If the federal government releases the vaccines that are being held back, Governor Whitmer's administration has developed a plan to get 50,000 vaccines in Michiganders' arms each day. The state began distributing the vaccine to frontline health workers and skilled nursing home residents and staff in December. To date, the state has administered more than 150,000 doses of the vaccine. 


Yesterday, Governor Whitmer's administration announced that Michigan is entering a new phase of vaccine distribution. On January 11th, the state will begin offering vaccine to Michiganders age 65 and older; frontline essential workers including police officers, first responders, frontline state and federal workers and jail and prison staff; and preK-12 educators, support staff, and childcare providers. 


To learn more about Michigan's COVID-19 distribution, please visit 


To view the full letter to the Trump Administration, click the link below: