Republican lawmakers from Michigan are denouncing CDC Director Rochelle Walensky's advice for the state to "shut things down" over a rise in COVID-19 cases there, saying instead that the Biden administration should be surging more vaccines to combat the problem and avoid more economic problems.
"Really what we need to do in those situations is to shut things down," Walensky said Monday. "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 the impact."
Many states with spikes in cases have urged a "surge" strategy in vaccine distribution based on cases rather than the current population-based strategy. But the White House has not indicated any plans to change the way vaccines are distributed.
"It’s clear that Michigan is a hot spot for COVID-19. To prevent further spread and save lives, the Biden administration should adopt a surge strategy and increase vaccine allocation to Michigan instead of advocating for shutting down the economy," Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., told Fox News. "Manufacturers, restaurants, and small businesses alike are still trying to recover from the mandated government shutdowns over the past year."
"Shutting down the economy again is not the answer," he said.
Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., told Fox that the state is seeing a spike even though the state "already has some of the most Draconian lockdown measures in the country."
"Now, the CDC bureaucrats — most of whom have never signed a paycheck or run a business — want to further decimate our economy," he said. "They don’t know what it’s like to lose the business they’ve worked to build for decades or lose a job and have to fight the state for months just to get an unemployment check."
Bergman slammed the Biden administration for what he said was 'mixed messages" on the vaccine. "Michiganders are ready to crush COVID and get back to business, instead of watching other states succeed with more freedoms."
Michigan Democrats joined the call for more vaccines, though they did praise the CDC's advice.
Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., told Fox "this explosion of cases and hospitalizations cannot be solved by vaccines alone."
"I'm actively participating in the Governor's request to the CDC that they surge more vaccines to Michigan because there's no question that greater vaccine supply will bolster the efforts Michiganders are taking to social distance, double mask and follow other public health guidelines," he added.
Whitmer's office didn't respond to Fox's request for comment, though she did say earlier that her state would follow FDA guidance on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The FDA and CDC on Tuesday recommended use of the J&J vaccine be paused after it was found to cause blood clots in six women.
"Of course, I’m going to continue to push for more vaccines to come into Michigan," Whitmer said, "but at this point, I don’t know that there is a whole lot more we can say other than we’re going to closely monitor and follow the CDC and FDA guidance."
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