The United States does not have a reserve stockpile of COVID-19 vaccines, but it is confident that there will be enough produced to provide a second dose for people, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told NBC News on Friday.
After the interview with NBC News, CNN reported that Azar had resigned from his position, citing last week’s attack on the Capitol as the main reason.
Azar told President Donald Trump in a letter this week that the attack on the Capitol could tarnish the legacy of the administration.
In the letter, Azar cited what he called the administration’s successes, including the rapid development of coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics, which he said saved “hundreds of thousands or even millions of American lives.”
But, Azar, who will remain on the job until President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, voiced concern that last week’s mob siege of the Capitol building and Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud “threaten to tarnish these and other historic legacies of this administration.”
“The attacks on the Capitol were an assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power,” Azar wrote in his formal resignation letter.
“We now have enough confidence that our ongoing production will be quality and available to provide the second dose for people. So we’re not sitting on a reserve anymore. We’ve made that available to the states to order,” Azar said.
Up until that point, the Trump administration had communicated to states that there was a reserve stockpile of second doses of the vaccines.
The governors of several states accused the Trump administration of deception after the administration pledged to immediately distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses from a stockpile that the US health secretary has since acknowledged does not exist.