State leaders call for faster delivery of coronavirus vaccines

Coronavirus

LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — California Governor Gavin Newsom and other state leaders have been vocal about the less-than-warp-speed delivery of vaccines from the federal government. Local delivery programs have now become more coordinated, but the supply and demand ratio remains unbalanced.

Less than 2% of the U.S. population have received the vaccine, according to data from the CDC.

Many governors remain frustrated by very limited vaccine deliveries.

“This is a problem that’s happening in states all across the country. None of us are happy with the way that this is being executed,” said Governor Kim Reynolds, R-Iowa.

Vaccination coordination was left up to the states, so frustrations remain even after delivery. Some states have tapped the National Guard for assistance, including Oregon.

“On the vaccine front, we’re making steady progress toward achieving our goal of 12,000 vaccines being administered per day. This is an all hands on deck effort,” said Governor Kate Brown, D-Ore.

To speed up vaccinations in Georgia, Republican Governor Brian Kemp has signed an executive order allowing EMTs and cardiac technicians to also administer shots. 

In Texas today, Governor Greg Abbott was among those to get a first shot and he hopes to sway people who are reluctant to do the same.

“I want to show my fellow Texans that it’s safe and easy to get a vaccine and also remembering that I would never ask any Texan to do something that I’m not willing to do myself,” Abbott said.

However, distribution is still a major hurdle.

“I had hoped to see an increase in the number of vaccines delivered to us from the federal government,” Governor J.B. Pritzker, D-Ill., said.

Pritzker and other midwestern governors sent a joint letter to federal health officials to demand the immediate release of the reserve stockpile.

President-elect Joe Biden has announced plans to do just that.

“If the States are forwarded all of the vaccine, we can then increase the number of people getting their first vaccine. But the trade off is we don’t have that guaranteed supply when they come due for that second vaccine,” Colorado Governor Jared Polis said.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced Friday that the first doses of the vaccines have been distributed to nursing homes, making it the first in the country.  

For now, local health departments continue to be overwhelmed by demand with very limited vaccine to offer.

“I’m really frustrated. We get a hundred doses a week for the 80+ population. Once the Governor makes an announcement, our phones just explode, folks just can’t get through to us, our emails explode,” said Lloyd White, Health Director, Marion County, West Virginia.

In a budget speech Friday, Governor Newsom announced that $372 million dollars would be set aside to expedite the delivery of vaccinations here in California.

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