States are reallocating hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses – initially set aside to vaccinate long-term care residents and staff members – through a federal partnership between the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and pharmacies including Walgreens and CVS.
CNN has counted at least 254,750 doses being repurposed by 10 states. That is equal to more than 8% of all people who have been administered at least one dose through the federal program.
In a call with governors last week, the Biden administration told states that they should be re-appropriating vaccines that had been earmarked for the program but hadn’t been used within a week of delivery.
On Monday, Andy Slavitt, an adviser to the Biden administration, said the White House continues to ensure that doses are allocated to people who will use them.
“We have been working with states and with those distributors to make sure that those excess doses quickly get to the places that [they’re] needed when they exist,” Slavitt said.
Last week, Utah reallocated 28,275 doses back into the hands of the state to be redistributed.
The CDC told CNN at least 24 such transfers have been approved but states and jurisdictions can work directly with the pharmacies to redistribute vaccine as needed.
Already, the states of Arkansas and New Jersey are taking back 30,000 doses each. New Jersey has also stopped the delivery of 44,000 doses that had been allocated to the federal program. The state of New York is reallocating 50,000 doses.
In a letter posted to Twitter on Friday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced that the state was reallocating 37,800 doses to vaccine providers in the state. “These surplus vaccines should be made available to members of the general public right away rather than at the completion of the LTC program.”
Earlier today, the Biden administration announced they will be putting one million doses towards the first phase of the retail pharmacy program – a similar partnership between the federal government and retail pharmacies, but this time geared towards vaccinating the general public.