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: 356061

Reported Deaths: 4275
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55695704
Washington38673322
Marion36719454
Clackamas29660309
Lane27624302
Jackson22982310
Deschutes20211125
Umatilla14451150
Linn12780130
Douglas12065243
Josephine9349196
Yamhill8674113
Klamath7965118
Polk733681
Malheur561776
Benton546531
Coos501294
Columbia379744
Jefferson372352
Union318449
Lincoln318039
Crook287546
Wasco287441
Clatsop243329
Baker202529
Tillamook196432
Hood River192137
Morrow184423
Curry180025
Harney113726
Grant100013
Lake92412
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1503
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4842472

Reported Deaths: 71202
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148181426506
Riverside3712935030
San Diego3660564183
San Bernardino3582135663
Orange3241845550
Sacramento1593332308
Kern1459621644
Fresno1458772084
Santa Clara1453911896
Alameda1205301400
San Joaquin1025821721
Ventura1009841166
Contra Costa998841008
Stanislaus860701331
Tulare80203967
San Francisco54375646
San Mateo54112622
Monterey50885587
Solano46021341
Santa Barbara45160523
Merced42299581
Sonoma40925402
Placer39342425
Imperial35999766
Kings32801322
San Luis Obispo29945332
Madera23876285
Shasta23851352
Butte23738270
Santa Cruz21018220
Yolo20353248
Marin17692244
El Dorado17169149
Sutter13913175
Napa12882100
Yuba1008582
Tehama9510110
Humboldt9243108
Nevada914290
Mendocino763687
Lassen754347
San Benito744472
Tuolumne688089
Lake6605104
Amador544064
Siskiyou450546
Glenn436733
Calaveras389381
Del Norte358342
Colusa307218
Inyo211140
Mono16703
Plumas16417
Mariposa133416
Trinity87711
Modoc6865
Sierra1880
Unassigned1820
Alpine1030
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