When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the federal government would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses held in reserve for second shots, no such reserve existed, according to state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans. The Trump administration had already begun shipping out what was available beginning at the end of December, taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line.
Now, health officials across the country who had anticipated their extremely limited vaccine supply as much as doubling beginning next week are confronting the reality that their allocations will remain largely flat, dashing hopes of dramatically expanding access for millions of elderly people and those with high-risk medical conditions. Health officials in some cities and states were informed in recent days about the reality of the situation, while others are still in the dark.
Because both of the vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States are two-dose regimens, the Trump administration’s initial policy was to hold back second doses to protect against the possibility of manufacturing disruptions. But that approach shifted in recent weeks, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
One of the two Virginia police officers arrested Wednesday in connection with last week’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol is a current member of the Virginia National Guard, officials confirmed Thursday.
Jacob Fracker has been charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. The Virginia National Guard said Thursday that he is a corporal in the Virginia Guard.
“The Virginia National Guard will conduct an investigation into the matter, and we will be able to release more information when that is complete,” the Guard said in a statement.
Fracker, whose status as a guardsman was first reported by Military.com, is the first known person currently in the military to be arrested in connection with the Capitol assault.
Fracker is an infantryman in a traditional National Guard status who normally drills one weekend a month and does two weeks of annual training, the Virginia Guard said.
He is not currently on duty with Virginia National Guard troops in Washington, D.C., it added.
Last week’s attack has raised questions about the extent of extremism in the military and among veterans after several rioters were identified as former members of the military.
House lawmakers on Wednesday impeached President Trump for his role in last week’s deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, capping an extraordinary week of violence, apprehension and partisan brawling in Congress just as Washington cranks up security in preparation for Joe Biden’s inauguration, just a week away.
The vote was historic: It made Trump the first president in the country’s history to be impeached twice.
And unlike the first debate, this time the president’s Democratic critics had support across the aisle. At least 10 Republicans joined every voting Democrat to approve the single impeachment article, which accuses Trump of inciting violence against the same federal government he leads.
The vote was still taking place when this story was posted, but the vote total had cleared the 217 voted needed to impeach the president. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who oversaw both impeachment efforts, said Trump’s refusal to concede his election defeat — and his subsequent efforts to rally supporters to the Capitol to overturn the election results — amounted to sedition. The president, she said, gave Congress no choice. “We know we experienced the insurrection that violated the sanctity of the people’s Capitol,” Pelosi said in a floor speech before the vote. “And we know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our common country.
Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) said in a Tuesday night Facebook Live address to her constituents that she witnessed the alleged exploratory tours.
The unidentified members of Congress “had groups coming through the Capitol” in “a reconnaissance for the next day,” Sherrill said.
In the over 13-minute video, Sherrill said she intends to see those lawmakers “are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.”
Klete Keller, a champion swimmer who won two Olympic gold medals as a relay teammate of Michael Phelps, was identified by former teammates and coaches as a member of the crowd that surged into the U.S. Capitol during violent protests on Wednesday.
A video posted by a reporter from a conservative outlet, Townhall, appeared to show the 6-foot-6 Keller towering over a crowd that was pushing and shoving with police officers who were trying to clear the Capitol Rotunda.