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Nine months later, Trump again looks to states to do heavy lifting

#Once coronavirus vaccines were approved for emergency use, #Americans heard ambitious plans about the tens of millions of people who’d be vaccinated by the end of #December. #As the month draws to an end, the #United #States is clearly falling far short of its goals.

#And while there are several factors contributing to delays, STAT #News, which is associated with #Boston #Globe #Media, reported yesterday on a familiar dynamic.

The logistics of the rollout have been largely left up to states to navigate. #States and local public health officials have warned for months that they would need more than $8 billion in additional funding to stand up the infrastructure needed to administer vaccines. The #Trump administration instead provided states $340 million in funding to prepare for vaccinations. #Congressional lawmakers also balked for months at appropriating additional funding for vaccine distribution….

#This is not a model for success. #State and local public health officials have been given enormous responsibilities, but they lack the resources to effectively get needles into shoulders quickly.

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#It’s against this backdrop that #Donald #Trump, sensitive to criticisms that he’s failing once again on his way out the door, has settled on a new pitch: the president wants states to move faster. #Here, for example, was a tweet the #Republican published late yesterday afternoon:

“#It is up to the #States to distribute the vaccines once brought to the designated areas by the #Federal #Government. #We have not only developed the vaccines, including putting up money to move the process along quickly, but gotten them to the states. #Biden failed with #Swine #Flu!”

#It was tempting to laugh a bit at the superfluous non-sequitur at the end — #Biden did not, in fact, fail with H1N1, though the topic itself is an unnecessary tangent — but the point is that #Trump is clearly trying to pass the buck after his administration failed to develop an effective distribution strategy.

#He added this morning, “The #Federal #Government has distributed the vaccines to the states. #Now it is up to the states to administer. #Get moving!”

There are three elements to this that are worth keeping in mind. #First, telling state and local public health officials to “get moving” isn’t helpful when they lack the resources to meet the administration’s goals. #Second, this dynamic will, fortunately, soon change: the economic package #Congress approved last week includes billions of dollars for national vaccine distribution, which should make a real difference.

#And third, if this entire dynamic sounds familiar, it’s not your imagination.

#In mid-March, as the #United #States started confronting the COVID-19 crisis in earnest, #Trump tried this same tactic. The president famously declared, “I don’t take responsibility at all,” while shifting weighty burdens onto state and local officials.

#As we discussed at the time, #Trump’s position was intended to serve as a political shield: any coronavirus failures should be blamed on governors, the argument went, since he had tasked them with taking the lead.

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#Nine months later, he’s reading from the same script.

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#months ##Trump #states #heavy #lifting


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