Legislator says governor is wrong to point finger at federal government
State Rep. Ann Bollin today expressed frustration in the Whitmer administration’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan and called on the governor to focus on fixing the problems with the state’s system.
Bollin, of Brighton Township, said data shows thousands of vaccine doses were sitting unused in coolers at hospitals, pharmacies and health departments across the state as of last week.
“Pfizer made Michigan proud by leading the production of a vaccine that is our best hope of ending this pandemic so people can get back to work and we can all finally return to our everyday lives,” Bollin said. “Now, the Whitmer administration is failing us all by blaming the poor rollout on Washington.”
Administrators with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services blamed delays on the holidays and health-care workers being on vacation.
“We know that many people actually chose not to get a vaccine because of the holidays,” MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said during the governor’s Jan. 6 press conference, after being asked by a reporter to explain the slow rollout. She did not give an answer on why other MDHHS personnel stated the holidays interfered with the rollout because facilities were not open, even though they are part of the essential workforce.
Bollin pointed out that administering vaccines around the holidays is a challenge the whole nation was facing, yet other states have not seen the same delays as Michigan. As of last week, Michigan had the sixth lowest per-capita distribution rate in the country.
According to the state’s vaccination report, Michigan had administered just 195,240 doses of the vaccine as of Jan. 7, more than three weeks after national vaccine distribution began. The same report indicates more than 725,850 doses of the vaccine have been distributed.
Bollin expressed concerns that the governor is misleading the public by claiming our per-capita vaccination rates are better than they truly are. CDC data shows Michigan remains among the worst of the states.
To make matters worse, Gov. Whitmer and MDHHS are busy pointing fingers at the federal government. MDHHS has also argued that the federal government does not share information with the states in a timely manner. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notifies states every Tuesday how many vaccine doses states will receive the following week, and those doses are shipped each weekend, so they can arrive starting Monday of each week. The federal government is in the process of accelerating that timeline even further.
“The facts are the facts, and they show Michigan failing when it comes to execution,” Bollin said. “At the end of the day, people are only interested in returning to their normal lives – the lives where their kids can get an education, they can earn a decent living and visit safely with their loved ones. Michigan families deserve an improved vaccine distribution plan and better execution.”
State Rep. Ann Bollin today said putting a check on the actions of the Legislature during the lame duck period after elections would be a huge step in the right direction for restoring the public’s trust in their state government.