NJ governor blames Walgreens, federal government for sluggish Covid vaccine rollout
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) blamed Walgreens and the federal government for the Garden State’s sluggish vaccine rollout during an interview Wednesday night on CNBC’s The News with Shepard Smith.
“The big reason is the federal program with CVS and Walgreens,” Murphy said. “They basically amassed these cans, they are planning visits to long-term care homes, they are extending their lives and they are suffering from their weight, especially at Walgreens, and that is where most of the remaining cans are.”
Murphy suggested to Shepard Smith that Walgreens “put more bodies on the case” to solve the rollout problem.
On Tuesday, Murphy said that New Jersey was effectively equipped to distribute the vaccine, but that all vendors were missing “are the vaccine doses.” New Jersey has a population of approximately 8,882 million people and has distributed 898,550 vaccines while only 432,220 of them have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pointing out the Covid vaccine doses under state control, Murphy said they get into people’s arms more efficiently.
“There aren’t many doses in hospitals or other distribution points that we directly control that are not in use,” Murphy said. “We get shot in the arms with all areas we can control.”
Smith pushed back with Murphy, insisting that “people lose” when it comes to the slow adoption of vaccines. There are currently more than 123,000 Americans in the hospital and an average of 3,000 people die each day, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data. The pandemic has killed more than 400,000 people since the pandemic started early last year. Murphy pointed to the federal government.
“There is no question that we have a huge imbalance between supply and demand that, with all due respect, begins with the federal government, at least to this day, after they dropped the ball – too promising and too little delivered,” Murphy said. “So if Walgreens hits 1,000, if CVS hits 1,000, and we as a state continue to do what we do, which gets vaccines into people’s arms, we’ve still been disappointed by the Fed.”
Murphy applied for up to $ 20 billion in federal aid to help with Covid’s deficits. President Joe Biden said Friday that he would use the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine supplies during his first month in office.