New Hampshire Government Council rejects federal vaccine contracts

The New Hampshire Government Council has rejected hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in federal funds to assist the state’s COVID-19 vaccine applications.

The $27 million in federal funding is supposed to assist the state develop vaccinations, which have lagged for a number of months. However the Republican-controlled council voted 4-1 on Wednesday alongside social gathering traces to reject two contracts to simply accept the funds.

The rejection got here regardless of efforts by Gov. Chris Sununu and state public well being officers to persuade skeptical council members and amid the backdrop of dozens of anti-vaccine protestors who packed into the assembly. A number of protestors have been arrested for disrupting the proceedings.

At a information briefing later, Sununu blasted the choice and mentioned it reveals a “reckless disregard” for lives and the state’s COVID-19 efforts to vaccinate extra folks.

“There’s not a single state that has voted to reject these funds, from Texas to Florida, South Dakota to Mississippi,” Sununu informed reporters. “These are our taxpayer {dollars} that might have efficiently bolstered our state’s very profitable vaccination efforts.”

Sununu mentioned the state’s well being care system is already struggling amid staffing shortages and the lack of the federal funding “shifts our state’s response efforts to an already overburdened well being care business” to develop COVID-19 vaccinations and testing.

The council had tabled a vote on the contract a number of weeks in the past, after Republican councilors cited issues in regards to the effectiveness of the vaccines and whether or not accepting the grant cash would bind the state to federal mandates.

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The council was anticipated to take up the problem once more at its Sept. 30 assembly, however the vote was canceled after anti-vaccine protesters disrupted the proceedings.

On Wednesday, Democrats pointed fingers at Sununu for sending blended messages in regards to the COVID-19 vaccines by vowing to problem President’s Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandates as he pushed for approval of the federal contracts.

New Hampshire Democratic Celebration Chairman Ray Buckley mentioned the vote reveals that Sununu “has abdicated management of the state’s dealing with of the pandemic and efforts to vaccinate extra Granite Staters.”

“For months Sununu enabled anti-vaccine rhetoric and loudly opposed vaccine necessities – and right this moment he reaped what he sowed,” he mentioned in a press release. “The governor’s lack of ability to persuade his personal social gathering to simply accept federal funding for much-needed public well being measures reveals an entire lack of management and is a defeat for public well being in our state.”

Sununu rejected these claims at Wednesday’s information briefing, saying he pushed “as laborious as he may” to persuade council members to simply accept the cash.

“On the finish of the day, there was no rationale for voting it down,” he mentioned.

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