Feds boost state COVID vaccine shipments to 11M doses next week

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers visited the Michigan State University (MSU) Pavilion to observe its ongoing vaccination efforts for area residents on February 9, 2021. (Whitmer office photo)

By Laura Olson, Michigan Advance

States will see another increase in the COVID-19 vaccine doses they receive, with the Biden administration announcing Tuesday that the federal government will distribute 11 million doses next week.

That’s an increase from 10.5 million doses this week, and 8.6 million during the week President Joe Biden took office last month. Those increases were attributed to boosted production by vaccine manufacturers.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said at a press conference Tuesday that 1.92 million doses have been administered in the state to date. Michigan’s goal is for 5.6 million to get vaccinated, with a rate of 50,000 shots per day. The state averaged about 40,000 per day last week.

“The demand for vaccines outpaces the supply we currently have,” Whitmer said. “That is going to change. We are seeing an increase in vaccines.”

A total of 569,980 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 14,965 have died.

The administration has not published a state-by-state breakdown on how many doses are distributed each week. Iowa Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, both Republicans, have questioned whether Iowa is receiving a fair share of doses under that formula, and wrote to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday, asking CDC officials to release the weekly formula for allocating vaccines to states.

The administration’s COVID-19 task force also announced that beginning next week, community health centers across the country will begin receiving vaccine doses directly. At least one center in each state will begin receiving COVID-19 shots, with the initial phase expected to include 250 centers nationally.

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the director of Biden’s COVID-19 health equity task force, said those centers provide care in many underserved areas, and using those facilities to boost vaccinations will help to improve equitable access to vaccines.

“The tools that we are deploying at the federal level are meant to aid state and local leaders, but are in no way a substitute for the important work that they must lead on the ground to address equity,” Nunez-Smith said.

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