While Whitmer, Cabinet Members in Charge of Vaccines Secretly Vacationed Out-of-State, Vaccine Efforts Failed to Reach Seniors, Minority Communities

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Freedom Fund Executive Director Tori Sachs provided the following response today to a blistering new report from USA Today that claims the Whitmer administration’s poor vaccine rollout exacerbated a nation’s-worst surge that killed thousands of Michiganders.
“For months, the Michigan Freedom Fund asked the Whitmer administration to focus vaccine efforts on nursing homes, on the most at-risk populations, and on getting shots efficiently and quickly into arms. Instead, the Governor snuck to Florida and the members of her cabinet responsible for the state’s vaccine rollout and her health department went on secret vacations in Florida and Alabama.
“Now a devastating new report from USA Today claims Whitmer’s disastrous vaccine rollout lagged other states and exacerbated ‘a late-pandemic spike in cases that killed 2,500 people.’ USA Today says the state’s failure was particularly felt by seniors and Black and Latino residents.
“Whether it’s importing COVID into nursing homes or botching the vaccine rollout, Whitmer’s disastrous handling of the pandemic has devastated seniors, families, and communities who needed her most. Each of these families deserves answers – and accountability.”
Key findings from today’s USA Today report include:
  • Whitmer’s poor rollout of life-saving vaccines played a roll in a COVID surge that killed thousands of Michiganders:
“But in the race to put shots in arms, Michigan lost. Its vaccination rate lagged Minnesota’s, exacerbating a late-pandemic spike in cases that killed 2,500 people. The vaccination gap between Minnesota and Michigan was particularly high for older people.”USA Today
  • According to a statement from Whitmer’s health department, the state intentionally and knowingly avoided more-effective vaccine rollout strategies to pursue “equity”:
“We also recognize that these efforts to address equity sometimes do not yield the high numbers” other channels might, the statement said, “but we strongly believe this is an important strategy to address equity.” – USA Today
  • Whitmer’s push away from efficient distribution of vaccines to health systems towards health departments caused canceled vaccine appointments, frustrated health care providers, and overwhelmed health departments:
“The state pivoted from primarily supplying health care providers to steering doses into local health departments, the data acquired by USA TODAY show.
“Health systems were taken aback by the shift. Getting fewer doses caused several private health systems to cancel existing vaccine appointments.
“We could have handled more,” said Brian Brasser, chief operating officer of Spectrum Health in the state. “We were ready to handle more.” – USA Today
  • Whitmer failed to actually address equity, vaccinating a smaller percentage of minority residents than in comparable states:
“At the end of the day, health departments in Michigan’s 10 most diverse counties through late March provided no more doses per resident than in the state’s 10 whitest counties, the USA TODAY analysis shows…
“Meanwhile, despite Michigan’s focus on public health, it did no better than Minnesota’s vaccination rate for Black people. By March 5, Minnesota had at least partially vaccinated around 10% of its Black residents; Michigan had vaccinated 6%.
“According to other data collected by Bloomberg News, (other states measured) are also currently ahead of Michigan when it comes to vaccinating Black residents.”USA Today
The Michigan Freedom Fund works to advance conservative ideas, hold our government accountable to taxpayers, and protect Freedom, opportunity, and workers’ Constitutional rights. For more information, please visit MichiganFreedomFund.com.