LANSING, Mich. - Following a request from Michigan's governor to purchase 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine doses as well as an altering a policy on eligibility requirements for receiving the vaccine in the state, the federal government said it will release millions of stockpiled doses.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said her request was granted after she and eight other governors sent letters asking for the Department of Health and Human Services asking for help.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration shifted course on its vaccine policy by releasing the second dose of the treatment. Secretary Alex Azar also said the administration was recommending states reduce the age limit to get vaccinated to people age 65 and older.
In this photo illustration, a man holds a syringe with a fake Covid-19 vaccine with the Pfizer logo in the background. (Photo Illustration by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
"Michigan and states across the country remain ready to get more shots in arms, which is why the Trump Administration’s decision to grant our request and release millions of doses of the vaccine is so crucial," said Whitmer in a statement. "It will take all of us – the federal government, state and local leaders, health departments, and everyday Americans - to ensure everyone can get the safe and effective vaccine."
However, Whitmer's request to purchase the vaccines has yet to be granted.
Michigan's vaccine rollout has been criticized by officials and citizens complaining that it's taking too long to get treatments to health care workers and seniors. It's a problem that has been reported at the local level in cities like Detroit, all the way up to the federal government.
Despite the issues, the state has pushed on with its vaccine distribution, moving the state to its second phase of the plan. On Monday, the state also lowered the age eligibility requirement to 65 - a day before the federal government made the same recommendation.
Releasing the coronavirus stockpile is also a policy decision that the incoming president says he plans to make once he enters the office.
Whitmer's request to purchase the doses would fill a "two-week lag in supply," her letter to Azar said last week.
Governors from California, Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin, Washington, and Oregon also sent letters to the federal government.
Despite surveys of health care workers in some counties showing disinterest in getting inoculated, residents in places like Detroit rushed to the phone lines Monday morning to schedule an appointment to get an injection.
However, a call center too lightly-staffed caused phone calls to be disrupted or put on hold for long periods of time.