Trump: Vaccine Distribution Is The States’ Problem, Not Mine!

US President Donald Trump wears a mask as he visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland' on July 11, 2020. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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December 29, 2020 6:00 p.m.

It’s up to the states to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, President Trump tweeted Tuesday, responding to mounting criticism of his administration’s failure to plan for distributing the vaccine beyond simply delivering it to the states.

“It is up to the States to distribute the vaccines once brought to the designated areas by the Federal Government,” Trump wrote. “We have not only developed the vaccines, including putting up money to move the process along quickly, but gotten them to the states.”

Trump’s comments echo the response of administration officials to criticism of the distribution effort.

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That effort received virtually no federal funding — $6 million from HHS per state — until Sunday, when President Trump signed legislation devoting at least $4.5 billion to help states distribute the vaccine to American citizens.

Meanwhile, Operation Warp Speed is set to miss its first goal — 20 million Americans vaccinated by the end of the year. According to an estimate from NBC news, only around 2 million Americans have received the first shot in the two-course regime as of Tuesday.

State and local officials have been clamoring for funding to distribute the vaccine for months. Meanwhile, experts say that the distribution effort is currently at the simplest phase, sending shots out to the relatively static populations that work or reside in long term care facilities or those medical workers who are fighting the virus.

Trump officials, apart from suggesting that the states are to blame for the slow rollout, have said that vaccines will be widely available one month into Biden’s administration, a forecast contradicted by officials working on the distribution effort and which could obscure the Trump administration’s failure to plan.

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