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(January 12, 2021 11:35 AM) Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that they will grant Governor Gretchen Whitmer and eight other governors’ request and release the millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine currently being held back by the federal government. HHS also announced that they will follow Michigan’s lead, recommending that states open up vaccinations to Americans age 65 and up, a move that Governor Whitmer announced last week. 

“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 Governor Whitmer. “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. There is still more work to do, which is why yesterday, I sent a letter to the Trump Administration requesting permission to directly purchase up to 100,000 doses of the vaccine for the state of Michigan. I am eager to hear back from the federal government regarding my request, and will continue to work with them and leaders everywhere to end this pandemic and save lives.” 

Last week, Governors Gretchen Whitmer, Gavin Newsom (CA), Laura Kelly (KS), J.B. Pritzker (IL), Tim Walz (MN), Andrew Cuomo (NY), Tony Evers (WI), Jay Inslee (WA), and Kate Brown (OR) sent a letter to Secretary Azar and General Perna requesting that the federal government distribute the millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses that are currently being held back.  According to publicly reported information, the federal government currently has upwards of 50% of currently produced vaccines held back.  The federal government is holding back a supply of vaccine to ensure enough supply for the second dose.  

On Monday, Michigan entered a new phase of vaccine distribution, and began 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 pre K-12 educators, support staff, and childcare providers. 

To learn more about Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.

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