Polis “shocked we were lied to” following report that COVID-19 vaccine stockpile doesn’t exist

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis tweeted Friday morning that he was “shocked we were lied to” following a report that a promised increase in COVID-19 vaccine doses won’t be coming because the federal stockpile already had been used up.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced earlier this week that the federal government would stop holding doses in reserve. The idea of a reserve was to ensure that every person who got a first dose could get the second one required to complete the vaccine sequence in three to four weeks.

Some raised concerns that eliminating the stockpile could leave recipients with only partial protection if logistical problems arose, but governors — including Polis — greeted the news warmly and planned to speed up distribution to older residents.

But the Trump administration had stopped holding back doses in December, meaning there was no stockpile to send out when Azar made the announcement, The Washington Post reported Friday.

“I’m shocked we were lied to and there is no national reserve,” Polis wrote on Twitter on Friday morning. “Federal announcements that 2nd dose being held in reserve was going to be released led us to expect 210,000 doses next week, other Govs made similar plans. Now we find out we’ll only get 79,000 next week.”

Vaccinations should continue at their current pace, with second shots available for everyone, as long as manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna don’t run into a supply chain problem. But the news blows up governors’ plans to dramatically ramp up the pace of distribution.

On Wednesday, Polis told The Denver Post that the state’s share of available doses could increase from about 70,000 per week to 140,000 for the next three to four weeks, or the state could receive more than 200,000 one week before returning to normal levels.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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