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Gov. Brown: Promised federal increase in vaccine shipments 'a deception'

A federal stockpile of COVID-19 vaccines that was supposed to ship out later this month has vanished, according to Oregon officials.

Posted: Jan 15, 2021 9:20 AM
Updated: Jan 15, 2021 2:36 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon's plan to begin vaccinating seniors, teachers, and childcare workers later this month likely will not materialize after news that a promised increase in shipments from the federal government are not coming, according to Governor Kate Brown's office.

Brown announced the expansion of Oregon's vaccination efforts earlier this week, after the Trump administration said that it would release its full reserve of vaccine doses to the states. But Brown says that state officials recently learned the stockpile was "a deception on a national scale."


RELATED: Trump administration expected to change course on vaccine distribution


"Last night, I received disturbing news, confirmed to me directly by General Perna of Operation Warp Speed: States will not be receiving increased shipments of vaccines from the national stockpile next week, because there is no federal reserve of doses," Brown said in a statement on Friday morning.

"I am demanding answers from the Trump Administration. I am shocked and appalled that they have set an expectation on which they could not deliver, with such grave consequences," she continued. "This is a deception on a national scale. Oregon’s seniors, teachers, and all of us were depending on the promise of Oregon’s share of the federal reserve of vaccines being released to us."

Federal Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced on Tuesday that his agency was making available "the full reserve doses" it had so that states could step up administration of vaccines.

"This next phase reflects the urgency of the situation we face: Every vaccine dose that is sitting in a warehouse rather than going into an arm could mean one more life lost or one more hospital bed occupied," Azar said.

"Because we now have a consistent pace of production, we can now ship all of the doses that had been held in physical reserve, with second doses being supplied by doses coming off of manufacturing lines with quality control," he later remarked.

In his statement, Azar criticized state governments for restricting vaccines to people in Phase 1a — healthcare workers, first responders, and the residents and staff of certain long-term care facilities — instead of making the currently limited supply of doses available to other groups.

"We are telling states today that they should open vaccinations to all of their most vulnerable people," Azar said. "That is the most effective way to save lives now, and some states' heavy-handed micromanagement of this process has stood in the way of vaccines' reaching a broader swath of the vulnerable population more quickly."

On Thursday, Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen penned a letter to Secretary Azar after learning that the stockpiled doses were not scheduled to be delivered — excoriating the HHS chief for leading state officials to believe that they could open up vaccinations to seniors and other categories without a corresponding increase in doses.

"Those plans were made on the basis of reliance on your statement about 'releasing the entire supply' you have in reserve," Allen wrote. "If this information is accurate, we will be unable to begin vaccinating our vulnerable seniors on January 23rd as planned."

Earlier this week, Governor Brown had announced a press conference to be held on Friday to address the planned expansion of vaccinations. That briefing is now set for 2 p.m.

This is a developing story and will be updated with more details as they emerge.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154554

Reported Deaths: 2204
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31785528
Washington21060212
Marion18335285
Clackamas13310175
Lane10172126
Jackson8299111
Umatilla763181
Deschutes591859
Yamhill375964
Linn356556
Malheur334358
Polk302942
Klamath277455
Douglas242853
Benton231816
Josephine231649
Jefferson195028
Coos142519
Union127519
Columbia124321
Wasco122026
Lincoln112820
Hood River106329
Morrow104414
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6487
Curry4166
Tillamook4122
Lake3746
Harney2726
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3554629

Reported Deaths: 51395
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118754221106
Riverside2891853749
San Bernardino2853342673
Orange2603483889
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1098411765
Kern102627811
Fresno947941412
Sacramento929441464
Alameda800881224
Ventura77238834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55775944
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38763515
San Francisco34061398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano29968164
Merced28915395
Sonoma27954298
Imperial26843589
Kings21951218
Placer19713231
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15390209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12760185
Shasta10944174
Butte10915160
El Dorado9095100
Napa897668
Sutter884597
San Benito574359
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada393274
Mendocino379643
Amador344441
Humboldt316033
Lake313440
Glenn221023
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3947
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
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