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Former HHS Sec. Leavitt says state vaccination plans ‘getting too granular,’ slowing distribution down

  • January 24, 2021

Mike Leavitt on convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19Video

Mike Leavitt on convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19

Former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt joins Jon Scott to discuss convalescent plasma therapy.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said Saturday that state coronavirus vaccination plans are “getting too granular,” in turn slowing distribution. 

Leavitt, who is also the former Governor of Utah and former EPA administrator, said that he’s less concerned with manufacturers being able to produce vaccines quickly enough and more concerned with “being able to get it to the arms of people.” 

“My suggestion is we have to realize from what we’ve learned so far, they’re getting too granular in the way we pass this out slows us down,” Leavitt said on “America’s News HQ.” “I think the goal ought to be get as many places issuing or administering the vaccine as possible and just get it to available arms.”

Still, amid a rollout that has frustrated Americans still unable to get the shot, Leavitt expressed optimism for the weeks ahead. “I think within a few weeks we’re going to see this become a much better-oiled machine, if you will, and that we’ll see improvement.”


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued guidelines for “Phase 1a” through “Phase 1c,” starting with healthcare workers and residents of long term care facilities, but has left the ultimate decision up to states for who gets the jab when. 

On Thursday the CDC quietly changed its guidelines to say that the first and second dose could be spaced six weeks apart, rather than three. 

Some governors have enacted narrower vaccine qualifications than others, and some have relaxed their stringent guidelines after an underwhelming rollout. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had stuck to rigid guidelines allowing only health care workers and long term care residents to get the jab and threatening healthcare providers with fines up to $1 million if they offered it to anyone else. He was looking for nearly all in those groups to have gotten the vaccine before moving to the next category.

But after reports of unused or spoiled supply and begging from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials, the Democratic governor expanded eligibility to include other frontline workers and those over 75. On Thursday, the governor’s office boasted that 93 percent of first doses New York had received from the federal government had been put to use, and lamented that the state would run out of vaccine before its next shipment. 


The CDC has said about 17.4 million people have received at least one dose of their Covid vaccine and over 3 million people have been fully vaccinated. 

The federal government said Saturday it had delivered 41.4 million doses to states. Federal health officials in the past have said they do not have a clear understanding why only a portion of doses shipped across the nation have been used. 


According to data from this week, West Virginia led the pack administering the highest percentage of doses it had received at 72.28 percent, followed by North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico and Connecticut. Alabama was last, having only distributed 33.65 percent of the vaccine it’d been given, behind Virginia, California, Arizona and Georgia. 

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