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U.S. Dept. of Health releases vaccine doses requested by Whitmer, other governors


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that it will release millions of doses of the COVID vaccine to states.

The move comes after a letter was sent to the department last week, in which Governor Gretchen Whitmer and eight other governors requested that the federal government distribute vaccines being held back by the Trump Administration. 

In a statement, Whitmer praised the decision.

“Michigan and states across the country remain ready to get more shots in arms, which is why the Trump Administration’s decision to grant our request and release millions of doses of the vaccine is so crucial. It will take all of us – the federal government, state and local leaders, health departments, and everyday Americans - to ensure everyone can get the safe and effective vaccine."

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

Whitmer also accused the Trump Administration of holding back those vaccines for "reasons unknown." But DHHS Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday morning that the vaccines were being held in order to ensure there were enough second doses available.

Now Azar says vaccine production is predictable enough to distribute available doses and ensure second doses are available.

DHHS also announced that it will now recommend states widen the pool of people eligible to receive the vaccine to include people over 65 and those with underlying medical conditions. Michiganders older than 65 became eligible to receive the vaccine Monday, although that has caused chaos in some counties.

This is a developing story.

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Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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