Gov. Whitmer wants Michigan to directly purchase 100,000 vaccine doses

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News
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Lansing — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has asked the federal government for permission for the state to make a one-time purchase of up to 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine directly from Pfizer.

Whitmer, a Democrat, made the request in a letter to Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It comes after she urged Republican President Donald Trump's administration last week to release millions of vaccine doses that she said had been "held back."

"This direct purchase will fill a two-week lag in supply and ensure that we can continue to ramp up our vaccination efforts across Michigan," the governor wrote.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense have previously announced agreements with Pfizer and Moderna for the purchase of mass amounts of vaccine doses and their delivery.

The doses Whitmer is requesting to purchase will be "administered consistent" with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and the Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, her letter says.

The largest manufacturing site in the Pfizer network is located in Kalamazoo County, according to the company's website.

"I am willing to discuss this request at your earliest convenience, as well as any other options for accelerating COVID-19 vaccine distribution across Michigan and the nation," Whitmer wrote to Azar.

As of Sunday, 233,085 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Michigan, according to state data. 

The state disclosed its first cases of the virus on March 10. Since then, Michigan has reported 523,618 infections, 13,401 deaths linked to it and 415,079 individuals who have recovered.

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