Oregon will not be getting an expected stockpile of Covid-19 vaccines from the federal reserve — because the reserve, evidently, does not exist — Governor Kate Brown announced on Twitter Friday.
Brown had reported the expected shipments earlier this week, coinciding with the news that she was expanding eligibility to include school staff and all Oregonians 65 and older starting Jan. 23.
“Last night, I received disturbing news, confirmed to me directly by General Perna of Operation Warp Speed,” Brown said Friday morning, referring to Gen. Gustave Perna of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s plan to quickly develop and distribute Covid vaccines.
“States will not be receiving increased shipments of vaccines from the national stockpile next week, because there is no federal reserve of doses.”
The Washington Post reported that when Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week the federal government would release doses held in reserve for second shots, no such reserve existed.
The Trump administration had already begun shipping out the government’s available supply to states at the end of last year, taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line.
“I am demanding answers from the Trump Administration,” Brown said. ” I am shocked and appalled that they have set an expectation on which they could not deliver, with such grave consequences.
“This is a deception on a national scale. Oregon’s seniors, teachers, all of us, were depending on the promise of Oregon’s share of the federal reserve of vaccines being released to us.”
According to a letter to Azar by Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen, the shortfall does endanger the state’s plan to expand vaccinations to seniors.
“This is extremely disturbing, and puts our plans to expand eligibility at grave risk,” Allen reportedly wrote. Those plans were made on the basis of reliance on your statement about ‘releasing the entire supply’ you have in reserve.
“If this information is accurate, we will be unable to begin vaccinating our vulnerable seniors on January 23rd as planned.”
Governor Brown had previously announced a press availability at 2 p.m. Friday to update Oregonians on the state’s Covid-19. She will be joined by representatives from OHA and the Oregon Military Department.
A livestream will be available to the public here.