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CDC head warns against surging shots to Michigan

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An elderly woman receives her first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Kitaaiki village, Nagano prefecture, central Japan, Monday, April 12, 2021. Japan started its vaccination drive with medical workers and expanded Monday to older residents, with the first shots being given in about 120 selected places around the country. (Yohei Nishimura/Kyodo News via AP)

WASHINGTON – A top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official says surging vaccines to Michigan would not help the hard-hit state control the latest COVID-19 wave that has strained its hospitals and is raising concerns nationwide, because vaccines take two to six weeks to confer protection.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters during a White House coronavirus briefing Monday that the answer in a crisis situation such as Michigan is facing is to go back to virus control basics.

“Really what we need to do in those situations is shut things down,” Walensky said. “I think 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 an impact.”

Walensky explained that at the same time, diverting vaccines away from other states where the situation isn’t as dire right now could unwittingly seed the ground for future outbreaks elsewhere.

Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has called for the federal government to surge vaccines to her state, but the White House said last week Michigan had not ordered its full allotment of available vaccines. Federal officials say the current population-based formula is still the fairest way to distribute vaccines to states. Whitmer has shied away from ordering lock downs.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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