White House to Shift More Vaccine Responsibility to States

The Biden Administration plans to shift the way vaccine doses are allocated among states, allowing some governors to turn down doses they don’t need or want, as President Joe Biden pushes to get at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to 70 percent of adults by July 4th weekend.

Administration officials told governors on Tuesday that if a state doesn’t want all of its allocations, then the vaccines will go into a pool and be redistributed to states that need them, a senior administration official said.

US out of COVID vaccine
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]
For weeks, some states, like West Virginia, have been reporting unused doses as demand wanes, while others, like Michigan, have been begging for more.

“It’s really just an indication that we’re at a different phase now than we were even a couple of weeks ago in terms of access to supply, and we want to ensure that we free up unused and unordered doses,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

President Biden also has set a goal of 160 million Americans vaccinated with both doses by Independence Day. Currently, 56 percent of adults have had at least one shot and 105 million are fully vaccinated. The U.S. plans to administer an additional 100 million doses in the next 60 days, a significant slowdown in the pace of vaccinations compared to the last 100 days.

The U.S. will also require all retail pharmacies receiving vaccine doses from the federal government to offer walk-up vaccinations that don’t require an appointment and is encouraging states to do the same at their sites. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be increasingly sending out mobile vaccination units and setting up small, temporary vaccination sites to get to harder-to-reach groups.

“I think the end of the day, most people will be convinced by the fact that their failure to get the vaccine may cause other people to get sick and possibly die,” President Biden said.

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