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Governor Whitmer requests direct purchase of up to 100,000 Pfizer vaccine doses for state

courtesy of Spectrum Health
A coronavirus vaccine clinic in the Grand Rapids area Monday morning.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants Michigan to buy up to 100,000 of doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on its own.

The federal government already arranged to buy 200 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer, and it’s been coordinating distribution to the states.

But Governor Whitmer, along with governors from eight other states, says that process is taking too long.

So Whitmer sent a letter to Alex Azar, head of the Department of Health and Human Services. And she asked for permission for Michigan to buy up its own doses of the vaccine.

“This direct purchase will fill a two week lag in supply and ensure that we can continue to ramp up our vaccination efforts across Michigan,” Whitmer writes in the letter.

As of Monday, the state said 233,085 doses of the vaccine had been administered in Michigan, out of 584,100 doses that have been distributed to the state.

Pfizer manufactures the vaccine at a factory in Portage, near Kalamazoo.

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Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.