ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said federal officials should be "prosecuted" after the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration didn't have a stockpile of COVID-19 vaccines when it announced this week that it would release the reserves.
"They were lying. They don’t have any doses held back. There is no strategic supply for the second doses," Walz told reporters at a news conference Friday afternoon.
Walz was among a coalition of eight Democratic governors that called upon the federal government to release the vaccines, which the Trump administration had previously said it was holding back to ensure second doses were available. He said he talked with other governors about the issue Friday morning.
"Who's going to be prosecuted for this? What are the states to do when they've been lied to?" Walz said, referring to the federal rollout "an abject failure."
Vaccines have long been considered to be the U.S.'s opportunity to vanquish the virus, which has killed 389,000 Americans. But the nationwide vaccine rollout has faltered from the start.
Just 12.2 million vaccines have been administered across the country as of Friday, according to CDC data.
Minnesota has not been immune from the slow rollout. As of Friday, the state and its partners have administered 198,253 doses of the 519,000 allocated here, according to CDC data.
State health officials have rigidly stuck to their plan to vaccinate all health care workers and long-term care residents first. Other states have moved on to vaccinating people over the age of 65, though with limited success.
Walz said he's explored buying vaccines directly from manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna but it's "super expensive" and doesn't think it's even possible.
Walz said to expect an announcement next week about Minnesota's updated vaccine distribution plan. The governor said he was "not sleeping" over his concerns about having enough second doses to give everyone who's already gotten their first.