VanderWall calls for DHHS director to resign from Biden team, focus on vaccine distribution

‘Too many lives are at stake for Director Gordon to play politics’

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee Chairman Sen. Curt VanderWall on Wednesday said the man in charge of distributing the COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan is putting the lives of residents in danger and called for him to resign from Joe Biden’s transition team.

“Director Gordon’s top priority right now should be administering the COVID-19 vaccine to save lives. But 44 other state health directors are doing a better job than he is,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “The people of Michigan are paying him to lead our public health efforts, not to help Joe Biden in Washington. He should step aside from his role with the president-elect and focus entirely on improving the Whitmer administration’s woeful vaccine distribution efforts.”

Michigan is ranked among the poorest performing states in terms of those that have administered vaccines. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michigan ranks 45th in that category. Gordon is director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which is in charge of vaccine distribution in the state.

VanderWall said Gordon’s role as a leader on Joe Biden’s transition team in Michigan is preventing him from doing his job.

“Right now, as head of the DHHS, job one for Director Gordon is to get the vaccine out,” VanderWall said. “As of Tuesday, just under 1.5% of Michigan residents have received the vaccine.”

According to Michigan’s online COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, 520,150 COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed as of Jan. 5, and 140,245 doses have been administered.

Data from the state of Michigan shows that individuals 80 and older are the most likely to suffer illness and illness and death from COVID-19 and that long-term care facilities are still the leading locations for outbreaks.

“It is unacceptable that less than one-third of the available doses in Michigan have been administered,” VanderWall said. “We must get this vaccine to our most vulnerable residents, not allow it to remain on shelves.”