Local leaders hope better COVID-19 guidance comes with transition at White House

Tracking Coronavirus

FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2021, file photo, vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are placed next to a loaded syringe in Throop, Pa. (Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune via AP, File)

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Millions of people waiting to receive a COVID-19 vaccine aren’t the only ones frustrated with the slower than expected rollout. Health experts and doctors say they are also unhappy with guidance they’ve received from the federal government.

“We are very dependent obviously because the federal government is the only source of vaccine,” Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said. “It’s been a struggle because the information we’ve gotten has been inconsistent with promises of vaccine quantities have not come through.”

State leaders learned Friday that they would not receive as many doses of COVID-19 vaccine as they expected because Operation Warp Speed had already released the majority of the vaccine reserve.

“The reserve of vaccine really was kind of a vapor reserve.  It didn’t exist,” Norman said on a call with doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital Tuesday morning. “We did see a little bit of an increase because they were holding back a paltry 1 or 2 percent for kind of emergency use and they decided to add that on.”

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas echoed the concern.

“It’s been a frustrating set of months during this pandemic when we have communicated sometimes with different voices and theories coming from our friends at the White House and federal directives,” Lucas said.

Leaders haven’t heard from the White House or the Department of Health and Human Services about a transition, but know things will change when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office Wednesday.

“I look forward to having some clear direction and hopefully ideas on how we’re getting supply and certain numbers coming from the administration starting on Wednesday,” Lucas said. “We’re very hopeful for that here in Kansas City.”

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