WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today continued leading Congressional efforts to oversee vaccine distribution and highlighted the shortcomings of Washington State’s strategy amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. During today’s Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing, McMorris Rodgers said the following:
“Earlier this month, we heard from 5 states who made clear supply limitations are the number one barrier to getting more shots in people’s arms. Hopefully, our projections for increased supply and new vaccines will resolve this. To crush the virus, states also need to resolve self-inflicted problems. My home state is no exception.
“The Seattle Times revealed that the Washington Department of Health ignored basic logistics in their rollout plan. It was called ‘a bureaucratic nightmare.’ Had Washington planned better, the most vulnerable could have been vaccinated much faster.
“I also recently learned of Governor Inslee’s unacceptable, unfair, and irresponsible intervention in Whitman County. After vaccinating all phase 1B tier 1 eligible people who wanted the vaccine, Whitman County was ready to vaccinate the next group: teachers. But Governor Inslee interfered.
“He threatened to withhold vaccines if they proceeded. One school superintendent called the Governor’s decision demoralizing. I agree. We should be doing everything we can to get our kids back to school. That means supporting counties that are delivering the vaccine with efficiency and speed.”
Cathy also shared a message of hope and assurance that Americans will get through this pandemic together, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel, saying:
“Based on current projections—by the end of July—we’ll have enough vaccines for 300 million people, well more than the estimated 260 million currently eligible, and we have more vaccines on the horizon.
“I know that this has been a very long year full of fear of the unknown, the uncertainty, and more isolation. This week marks 500,000 lives lost. Social distancing, school closures, long hours and nights for people on the frontlines, the rise of suicides and overdoses — it all adds up and it’s taking a toll.
“People are tired. Many are in despair. I’m especially worried about the mental health of our children. So my message today is this: there is hope. Our vaccine supply is expected to increase. Distribution is becoming more efficient. We will get through this pandemic.
“It’s American innovation and ingenuity that’s going to end this crisis and give people hope, the ability to heal, and the courage to dream again. We will emerge stronger than ever before.”
Click here to watch Cathy’s full opening statement.