The White House said that it will not be altering its vaccine distribution plan in response to a surge of cases in Michigan. During a Monday (April 12) morning press briefing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that officials need to "shut things down" to deal with the recent uptick in new cases.
Over the past week, Michigan saw a 16% surge in the average number of daily COVID-19 infections. According to MLive.com, more cases were reported between April 7-10 than there were during the entire month of February.
While Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has called on the CDC to provide her state with more vaccines, federal officials have refused, saying the state needs to put new restrictions in place to deal with the rise in cases.
"Really, what we need to do in those situations is to shut things down," Walensky said. "If we tried to vaccinate our way out of what is happening in Michigan, we would be disappointed that it took so long for the vaccine to work to actually have the impact."
Walensky pointed out that it will take several weeks before the vaccines will have an effect. Health officials say that a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their final dose. Because the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require a second shot, given three to four weeks after the first injection, it could up to six weeks before a person is considered fully vaccinated.
"So when you have an acute situation — an extraordinary number of cases like we have in Michigan — the answer is not necessarily to give the vaccine," Walensky said. "The answer to that is to really close things down, to go back to our basics, to go back to where we were last spring, last summer, and to shut things down, to flatten the curve, to decrease contact with one another to test to the extent that we have available, to contact trace."
Andy Slavitt, White House COVID-19 adviser, pointed out that other states need those vaccines as well, and it is impossible to know where the next surge in cases may occur.
"Our ability to vaccinate people quickly in all of each of those states — rather than taking vaccines and shifting it to playing Whack-a-Mole — isn't the strategy that public health leaders and scientists have laid out," Slavitt said.
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