Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is calling on President Joe Biden to give states greater control over the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
During an appearance on CNN’s « State of the Union » on Sunday, the Republican governor suggested that officials in the Biden administration are not doing enough to communicate effectively with state officials. He said this has caused confusion and, in some cases, COVID-19 vaccines have been shipped to places that have already received shipments from the federal government.
« Give it to the states, we’ll get it out … it’s easier to coordinate that way, » Hutchinson said. « We are going to keep increasing to get those doses. »
His comments came just days after he and a group of bipartisan governors addressed a letter (pdf) to Biden on similar issues.
On February 15, the National Governors Association asked the president to « improve information and coordination between the federal and state governments on COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts. »
He asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to distinguish between various federal distribution programs in their reports of vaccine distribution data to provide more clarity on which efforts are managed by the state and which efforts are managed by the federal government.
The letter also requested that federal decisions about the use of federally qualified health centers and pharmacies be coordinated with state governments.
« Due to the anxiety created by the demand and supply of the vaccine, it is imperative that the American people fully understand the process, » wrote the governors, led by New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo and Hutchinson. « States also need visibility into federal facility-level vaccination efforts taking place across our borders. »
Hutchinson said just days before, « I made one point in particular and that is that states must take the lead in administering vaccines and we don’t need to have duplicate programs that are difficult to coordinate. »
Biden has pledged to vaccinate 100 million Americans against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, in his first 100 days in office. According to the CDC, as of February 21, more than 75.2 million doses of the two licensed mRNA vaccines have been distributed and 63 million doses in total have been administered.
A vaccine is manufactured by Pfizer and BioNtech; the other is done by Moderna, with the help of US health officials. Pfizer is licensed for people over 16 years old, while Moderna is for people over 18 years old.
At least 11 states have experienced vaccine launch delays due to severe winter conditions, and many have been forced to close vaccination sites and reschedule appointments.
Thousands of appointments have been rescheduled in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Missouri, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Texas and Alabama, ABC News reported last week.
The Biden administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.