WASHINGTON – Governors are calling on President Joe Biden to say more about how the federal government is distributing coronavirus vaccines to local pharmacies and community health centers in their states.
They also want the public to better understand which distribution programs the states run and which are controlled by the federal government.
“Because of the concern raised by the demand and supply of the vaccine, it is imperative that the American people fully understand the process,” the National Governors Association’s executive committee wrote in one letter sent to Biden on Monday.
Governors complained that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public coverage of vaccine distribution had caused “unnecessary confusion”. They called on the CDC to make it clear which doses are being distributed through state-controlled efforts and which through programs the federal government is running.
The Trump administration Partnership with pharmacies Administer vaccines to nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Biden launched programs to send vaccines to select retail pharmacies and government-funded community health centers that mostly care for low-income patients.
Governors said pharmacy and community health center programs should be coordinated with states better positioned to understand the needs of their communities and assess facilities’ ability to deliver vaccines.
“As usual, some pharmacies and (community health centers) are better suited to this role than others,” they wrote. “If the federal government distributes to the same offices independently of the federal states without state coordination and consultation, redundancy and inefficiency can certainly follow.”
Kevin Munoz, a White House spokesman, said the government “is discussing these important issues around data and reporting to our nation’s governors on an ongoing basis.”
“Our strong partnership with states over the past few weeks is helping us vaccinate more people,” Munoz said in an email, “and we look forward to continuing to be a strong, receptive federal partner as we work with relevant stakeholders to improve ours. ” Data and reporting. “
This includes improving Tiberius, the government’s tracking software, so that states can better see what is happening. The municipalities can now also submit data on priority groups for the federal pharmacy program.
Biden has promised to work closely with governors to expedite the vaccine distribution process begun under President Donald Trump. He met with a group of governors and mayors last week. Its coronavirus task force makes weekly calls with governors.
The government has increased the amount of vaccines going to the states and has given governors a three-week forecast to give them more time to make distribution plans.
“We understand the pressures that governors are under,” Andy Slavitt, Biden’s chief advisor on the COVID-19 response, told reporters last week. “We take a collaborative approach as much as possible.”
States have been wondering why some are distributing vaccines faster than others.
Andrew Cuomo, New York Governor, Democrat and chairman of the National Governors Association, stressed Monday that there are multiple distribution points.
In part, Cuomo says better coordination is needed to keep state and local governments from sending vaccines to the same places.
“When the federal government sends to CVS,” he said during one Press conference, “I’m not sending to CVS.”