HHS secretary Alex Azar on Sunday dismissed a bipartisan report by the National Governors Association last week, which found that governors requested at least $8.4 billion in federal funds to conduct COVID-19 vaccination program activities, as “partisan sniping” during an interview on CBS.
When asked about why states have received $200 million from the federal government that is specifically allocated for COVID-19 vaccination efforts, falling short of governors’ request, Azar insisted “we are getting them the money.”
Azar pointed to New York state and New York City as an example by saying that they “haven’t drawn down a penny of the money” that the federal government made available for vaccine distribution efforts.
“I think we’ve had one percent of the moneys available, drawn down,” Azar said.
Azar argued that “there’s a bit of partisanship going on” before going to dismiss the NGA’s report by ranting about how “states need to operate as air traffic controllers.”
After CBS anchor Margaret Brennan interjected by pointing out that the NGA is a bipartisan group, Azar once again asserted that funding for COVID-19 vaccine operations have “been worked out” and that anyone who doesn’t agree with his assessment is guilty of “partisan sniping.”
“There’s just a lot of partisan sniping going on right now when we ought to be celebrating the fact that we’ve got millions and millions of doses of FDA safe and effective vaccine going out,” Azar said. “Our governors have this.”
Azar added that the federal government has “worked out comprehensive plans” with all 64 public health jurisdictions in the country by providing “feedback back and forth.”
“At the actual technical level this is working. It will work. It’s under control,” Azar said. “We’re leveraging the private distribution system that works every year for flu vaccines and other vaccines.”
Watch Azar’s remarks below:
"At the actual technical level, this is working. It will work, it's under control," he claims pic.twitter.com/Dh29ot9MV3
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) December 13, 2020