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Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan are committed to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have taken decisive action to curb the spread of COVID-19, support our health care providers and facilities, and mitigate the impact on Minnesota families. Please see the news alerts below to stay up-to-date in this ever-evolving situation.

Governor Walz, Coalition of Governors Urge the Federal Government to Send More Vaccines to States

1/7/2021 11:45:08 AM

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Today, Governor Tim Walz joined the governors of Michigan, California, Kansas, Illinois, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin in sending a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Operation Warp Speed Chief Operating Officer General Gustave Perna requesting that the federal government distribute the millions of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses that are currently being held back by the Trump Administration. According to publicly reported information, the federal government currently has upwards of 50% of currently produced vaccines held back by the administration for reasons unknown.

“ Our states are ready to work around the clock to ramp up distribution, get more shots in arms, and save more American lives ,” the governors said. “ General Perna, as you have stated before, ‘a vaccine sitting on a shelf is not effective.’ We couldn’t agree with you more. That’s why we are asking for your help now. When we work together, we can end this pandemic and return to a life of normalcy sooner. Our finest medical researchers have made it crystal clear: if we fail, there will be even more dire consequences for our families, our small businesses, and our economy. This is America. There is no challenge we can’t meet. Let’s work together and get it done .”

The Minnesota Department of Health has been working around the clock with health systems and local health departments across the state to distribute the vaccine to Minnesotans. The state began distributing the vaccine to frontline health workers and long-term care residents and staff in December. To date, the state has administered nearly 100,000 doses of the vaccine.

The /governor/assets/Letter%20to%20the%20Federal%20Government%201.7.20_tcm1055-462370.pdffull letter to the Trump Administration is copied below.

Dear Secretary Azar and General Perna,

As governors, our administrations are fully committed to delivering the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to our residents as quickly and safely as possible. This work is of the utmost importance to protect the health and wellbeing of America’s working families, so we can return to a strong economy and normal day-to-day activities. We very much appreciate the partnership with Operation Warp Speed (OWS) and are grateful for the vaccines received to date, but our states and residents need more vaccines now. This need is all the more urgent with the onset of the new variant of the virus.

According to publicly reported information, the federal government currently has upwards of 50% of currently produced vaccines held back by the administration for reasons unknown. While some of these life-saving vaccines are sitting in Pfizer freezers, our nation is losing 2,661 Americans each day, according to the latest seven-day average. The failure to distribute these doses to states who request them is unconscionable and unacceptable. We demand that the federal government begin distributing these reserved doses to states immediately.

Reportedly, the holding back of doses has been to prepare to ‘mitigate situations’ in the manufacturing and distribution of vaccines. In December, OWS announced agreements with both Pfizer and Moderna to acquire an additional 100 million vaccine doses from each company, bringing the combined allocations expected to the U.S. government to 400 million doses by the second quarter of the year. These agreements, combined with the expected emergency use authorizations of vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca later this year, should give you the utmost confidence that the manufacturing pipeline is robust, safe, and capable of protecting a majority of the America public in the coming year.

Our states are ready to work around the clock to ramp up distribution, get more shots in arms, and save more American lives. General Perna, as you have stated before, “a vaccine sitting on a shelf is not effective.” We couldn’t agree with you more. That’s why we are asking for your help now. When we work together, we can end this pandemic and return to a life of normalcy sooner.

Our finest medical researchers have made it crystal clear: if we fail, there will be even more dire consequences for our families, our small businesses, and our economy. This is America. There is no challenge we can’t meet. Let’s work together and get it done.

Sincerely,

State of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

State of California Governor Gavin Newsom

State of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly

State of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker

State of Minnesota Governor Tim Walz

State of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

State of Washington Governor Jay Inslee

State of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers
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