February 15, 2021
Albany, NY

National Governors Association Issues Letter Asking President Biden For Enhanced Reporting and Coordination With State Governments on COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

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National Governors Association Issues Letter Asking President Biden For Enhanced Reporting and Coordination With State Governments on COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts
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Letter Asks CDC to Distinguish Between Federal and State Efforts in the Vaccination Data it Reports Nationwide

Letter Asks That Federal Decisions to Use Pharmacies and Federally Qualified Health Centers for Distribution Be Coordinated with State Governments

Click Here to View the Letter

The National Governors Association today issued a letter asking President Joe Biden for enhanced reporting and coordination between federal and state governments on COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts. The letter asks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to distinguish between several federal distribution programs when it reports data on vaccine distribution to provide more clarity on which efforts are state-run and which efforts are federally-run. The letter also asks that federal decisions to use pharmacies and Federally Qualified Health Centers be coordinated with state governments.

The full text of the letter is available below:

February 15, 2021

Dear Mr. President,

The nation's Governors again congratulate you on your victory and look forward to a working partnership as we battle these difficult times together. We thank you for the coordination that your team has already extended to the Governors. We are the front line in the battle against COVID and we will only succeed if we work together.

We have two immediate issues of concern. First, we believe it is essential that the American people understand the vaccine distribution process and the extent of the effort that governments on both the federal and state level are extending. There has been an ongoing issue since last year with which we would ask your assistance. Due to the anxiety created by the demand and supply of the vaccine it is imperative that the American people fully understand the process.

Currently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides public information on a state and territory level as to the number of vaccines distributed to each state and the number of vaccinations performed. The CDC reporting mechanism has created unnecessary confusion. We would ask that the CDC reporting accurately reflects the reality.

The vaccine is delivered and administered through several different programs. By one program, the federal government administers a program in which it contracts with private pharmacies for vaccinations in nursing homes and long-term care facilities (LTCF program). The program is not controlled by the states. Your Administration has started a new federal program to directly deliver vaccines to certain pharmacies in our states the federal government selects. Your Administration has also announced another new federal program whereby the federal government will directly distribute to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) that it selects. These are three separate federal efforts beyond our control.

State and territorial governments then receive vaccine allocations for "first doses" and "second doses" from the federal government. We appreciate transparency, accountability and our responsibility for the administration of the first and second doses. However, the federal LTCF program, federal pharmacy program and the federal FQHC program, are federally administered and beyond the states' control.

We believe it is important that the CDC in its reporting distinguish between these separate efforts to avoid confusion and provide a clear understanding to the American people. States also need visibility into the federal vaccination efforts at the facility level happening in our borders.

Second, we believe that federal decisions to use pharmacies and FQHCs should be coordinated with state governments. States also allocate doses often to these same pharmacies and FQHCs. We understand the capacity of the individual entities and we know the range of the individual entities throughput and their inventory. As usual, some pharmacies and FQHCs are better suited for the task than others. Following the performance data on these entities is essential. We also know the need in the respective communities they serve and other efforts in the geographic vicinity. If the federal government distributes independently of the states to these same entities without state coordination and consultation, redundancy and inefficiency may very well follow.

We are most appreciative of our relationship with your administration and Mr. Jeff Zients in particular, who has been doing great work, and we look forward to working through these issues in a mutually productive manner. Thank you in advance.

Sincerely,

Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York

Chairman

Governor Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas

Vice Chairman

Governor Charlie Baker, Massachusetts

Member, NGA Executive Committee

Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland

Member, NGA Executive Committee

Governor Kay Ivey, Alabama

Member, NGA Executive Committee

Governor Doug Ducey, Arizona

Member, NGA Executive Committee

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico

Member, NGA Executive Committee

Governor Jared Polis, Colorado

Member, NGA Executive Committee

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan

Member, NGA Executive Committee

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640

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