DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Friday said the Trump administration showed “gross incompetence” when it provided false information about the existence of a federal vaccine reserve.
The criticism came three days after the administration announced the federal government would begin releasing second doses of the vaccine being held in a reserve.
It was later discovered that the administration had already started shipping the available doses at the end of December, depleting any reserves along with the hopes that states would receive double the supply in the coming weeks.
“We’re glad that every dose was sent out, but … on several calls with state governors, the White House lead us all to believe that there was a second dose that had been paired that would be released soon,” Polis said at a news conference.
Polis previously tweeted: “I’m shocked we were lied to and there is no national reserve.” He said the state had been led to believe it would receive 210,000 doses next week but later found out it would get just 79,000.
A White House administration official said states have still not ordered all of the doses allocated to them, and called it a problem with states’ expectations.
Colorado’s goal is to give vaccines to 70% of residents 70 and older by the end of February. Polis said the additional supply would have covered half of the 70-and-over population in the state.
Polis said about 50,000 Colorado residents 70 and older have already received the vaccine.
“I’m still confident we’ll meet our initial timeline because we did base that on the conservative figures of what we knew we could expect through the normal supply chain,” he said.
Colorado is expecting shipments of 34,700 Moderna and 35,100 Pfizer doses over each of the next two weeks, Polis said. In mid-February, officials expect supply to increase but Polis warned, “we have been misled before.”
Polis also said 64,500 Colorado health care workers have been vaccinated and 48,000 have received their second dose.
The governor also announced he would be issuing an executive order that would prevent health care providers from charging any copays or fees for coronavirus vaccines.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.