State leaders expressed confusion and concern Thursday evening after they were informed their states would receive less coronavirus vaccine doses than previously promised.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told officials in states ranging from Iowa, Illinois and Michigan to Oregon and Washington to expect fewer coronavirus vaccine doses than originally promised, CNN reported. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted that his state would be receiving 40% fewer doses than expected and that “all states” would see similar cuts.
“This is disruptive and frustrating. We need accurate, predictable numbers to plan and ensure on-the-ground success,” Inslee said. “No explanation was given.”
The Iowa Department of Public Health said in a statement that it is “working through the distribution details with the revised vaccine allocation” alongside federal health officials. (RELATED: ‘I Didn’t Feel A Thing’: Pence Receives Coronavirus Vaccine On Camera)
An HHS spokesperson told CNN that the confusion was a miscommunication. States would receive the amount of doses promised, but over the course of several days and not all at once, according to the spokesperson.
“As was done with the initial shipments of Pfizer vaccine, jurisdictions will receive vaccine at different sites over several days,” the spokesperson told CNN. “This eases the burden on the jurisdictions and spreads the workload across multiple days.”
An anonymous senior Trump administration official told Axios that the vaccine’s maker Pfizer was to blame. The pharmaceutical company committed to supplying less doses than originally promised, according to the official.
But, Pfizer said in a press release Thursday that there hadn’t been a production error and that millions of doses were ready for distribution. Pfizer said it was awaiting instruction on where to send the doses that were ready for shipment.
“Pfizer is not having any production issues with our COVID-19 vaccine, and no shipments containing the vaccine are on hold or delayed,” the company said in the statement. “This week, we successfully shipped all 2.9 million doses that we were asked to ship by the U.S. Government to the locations specified by them.”
“We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses,” the statement continued.
The first doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine were administered on Monday. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended a second coronavirus vaccine, made by Moderna, for emergency use authorization Thursday.
Meanwhile, the FDA said Wednesday that Pfizer’s vaccine vials may contain up to 40% more doses than originally forecasted.
On Thursday, the U.S. reported 3,438 new coronavirus-related deaths and 241,620 new cases while 114,237 Americans remained hospitalized from the virus, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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