A loophole might allow lawmakers to bring guns into the Capitol, but it’s not a free pass to violate local laws

A police officer stands guard near the north door of the Capitol on November 1, 2019, in Washington, DC.
A police officer stands guard near the north door of the Capitol on November 1, 2019, in Washington, DC.

  • An exception to a Capitol gun ban lets lawmakers store their licensed firearms in their offices.
  • Some have chosen to wear them on their person, dodging security measures after the Capitol siege. 
  • Lawyers told Insider the exception doesn’t give lawmakers a pass to walk around with guns in DC. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Gun-toting lawmakers at the US Capitol insist on bringing their firearms to work, and it’s causing a stir in the halls of Congress.

A 54-year-old loophole in the building’s firearms ban has emerged in the wake of the Capitol insurrection, during which hundreds of pro-Trump extremists took control of the Capitol, putting the nation’s lawmakers and their staff in danger. 

In response to the breach, Capitol police implemented new safety protocols, including newly installed metal detectors and mask requirements.

Freshman GOP congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who has engaged with QAnon conspiracy theories and owns a gun-themed restaurant in Colorado, recently refused to walk through the metal detector in the building, or to allow Capitol police to search her bag.

She had also released an ad in which she wore a gun on her hip in the city and said she “will carry [her] firearm in DC and in Congress.”

This week, GOP Rep. Andy Harris also tried to carry a concealed gun onto the House floor. When he was stopped at the metal detector, he tried to hand the gun to a colleague, who refused because he’s unlicensed to carry the weapon. 

Altogether, at least 10 Republicans in Congress were seen walking around the machines to get into the chamber. 

Their actions enraged some of their colleagues. 

“The moment you bring a gun on the House floor in violation of House rules, you put everyone around you in danger,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told CNN this week. “I don’t really care what they say their intentions are, I care what the impact of their actions are. And the impact is to put all 435 members of Congress in danger.” 

The Republican lawmakers bringing guns to the building are leaning into a 1967 exemption to the Capitol grounds gun ban, which says that no federal or District of Columbia laws restricting firearms “shall prohibit any Member of Congress from maintaining firearms within the confines of his office” or “from transporting within Capitol grounds firearms unloaded and securely wrapped.”

That exemption doesn’t allow lawmakers to bring the guns into the House chamber and nearby areas, according to Rep. Jared Huffman, a Democrat from California who has reignited his effort to repeal the exemption. 

“I’ve been pushing for years to change this outdated rule, knowing there was an inevitable risk in allowing Members to carry guns in the Capitol,” Huffman said in a statement. “While we’d like to think we could rely on common decency, we now have colleagues who are QAnon and white supremacist sympathizers, incite violence and insurrection, and have even bragged about bringing guns into the House Chamber.”

Even with this controversial loophole in place, though, the exemption doesn’t work as a free pass to flout local laws, DC defense attorneys told Insider.

To get the guns onto Capitol grounds, they have to bring it through DC – which has some of the strictest laws in the US – and that’s not something that can be done overnight.

“I find it hard to believe that many of the members who are in Congress right now went through this process to get their DC gun license,” Attorney Nabeel Kibria, who specializes in defending people accused of gun crimes, told Insider.

Lauren Boebert
Lauren Boebert poses for a portrait at Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado on April 24, 2018

District gun laws are among the strictest in the country

The process to register a firearm in the District of Columbia is not easy, and it was only within the last five years when the process to carry a concealed gun, as Harris did, was even established.

In order to legally own a gun in Washington, DC, the firearm needs to be registered in the city. 

The gun, which has to be bought outside of the city because none are sold there, needs to then be shipped to the DC police department, attorney David Benowitz, of Price Benowitz LLP, told Insider. 

When the gun arrives at the department, the buyer can go to the station and fill out registration and background check paperwork, have their fingerprints taken, and be photographed. After the 10-day waiting period, if they’re approved, the can pick up the gun. The registration allows them to have the gun, but not carry it on them. 

The process has to be completed for each gun a person owns.

“If all you have is the registration, and say you want to go to the firing range, you need to keep it in the trunk, unloaded, in a container that’s secured. Benowitz said. “The ammunition needs to be in a separate container.”

To carry a loaded gun on your person, the process is far more difficult, Benowitz said. 

“You have to take classes. You have to be approved for it. It is not a simple process,” Benowitz said. “I can’t speak to a specific legislator, but I can tell you that they haven’t done that, once they cross that border into the District of Columbia, and once they get inside the Capitol, it’s illegal.”

“If it’s readily available, it’s a felony,” Benowitz added, referring to firearms in DC. 

Open-carry is always illegal in the city. A spokeswoman for the DC police department told Insider there is at least one member of Congress who is registered to own a gun in the city, but she couldn’t release the name, and there is no immediate way for her to check how many Senate and House staff have gone through the registration process. 

Capitol police didn’t return an email seeking clarification on details of the exemption. 

Harris’ office also didn’t immediately return a comment on whether he was licensed to carry in Washington, DC, but issued a statement to The Hill. 

“Because his and his family’s lives have been threatened by someone who has been released awaiting trial, for security reasons, the Congressman never confirms whether he nor anyone else he’s with are carrying a firearm for self-defense. As a matter of public record, he has a Maryland Handgun Permit,” the statement to The Hill said. “And the Congressman always complies with the House metal detectors and wanding. The Congressman has never carried a firearm on the House floor.”

In Boebert’s ad, she bragged about walking around Capitol Hill with her Glock on her hip.

It’s unclear if she has a permit to carry a concealed weapon in the city, but police Chief Robert Contee III said during a news conference this week that his department would be in contact with her.

qanon shaman jacob chansley jake angeli capitol riot insurrection siege
Supporters of US President Donald Trump, including Jake Angeli (C), a QAnon supporter known for his painted face and horned hat, enter the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. – Demonstrators breached security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification.

Being licensed elsewhere isn’t a pass to carry in DC

If someone is caught illegally carrying a concealed weapon in the District of Columbia, they tend to face three charges: possession of an unregistered firearm, possession of unregistered ammunition, and a felony charge of carrying a pistol without a license, Kibria said.

The district’s close proximity to Virginia and Maryland means the gun laws change quickly within just a short drive around the area. 

It’s not uncommon for defendants charged with gun crimes to simply have not realized they still had their gun with them when crossing the border into the city, Benowitz  said. 

Even if they can immediately prove they’re licensed at home, they can still be – and often are – arrested, Benowitz said, adding: “DC doesn’t have reciprocity with any other district.”

Being licensed at home might get some leniency for the defendant down the road, when working out a plea deal, but “it has nothing to do with whether the law is broken,” Benowitz said.

Kibria, who has been contacted by at least 15 defendants who were arrested at or around the Capitol on January 6 while carrying guns, said he has recently seen an uptick in business from defendants in gun-related cases.

“Over the last four years I’ve had plenty of MAGA, I guess we can say Trump supporters – many wealthy ones – who are big Second Amendment people. They love their guns. In their states they’re licensed and they carry their guns with them everywhere. They sleep with their guns,” he said. “They come to DC thinking it’s OK, but they will be arrested.”

In these cases, when defendants are people who are properly licensed to carry firearms in their home state, lawyers might be able to get their three charges – including a felony- knocked down to a misdemeanor, he said. 

“Now if it’s a little more, because they don’t have a proper license at home, then they will probably have to plead guilty to the felony version of carrying a pistol without a license, and my job is to make sure they don’t do any jail time,” Kibria said. 

In either situation, they’re firearm is confiscated and they don’t get it back, he added.

Without knowing whether the members of Congress bringing guns into the Capitol are properly licensed, Kibria still finds it unnerving that they have been dodging metal detectors that were installed after the insurrection. 

“My very first job out of college, I worked on the Hill. I worked for Sen. Tom Carper,” Kibria said. “It’s haunting to me. Per the law, if the Capitol police are called, anyone who is violating the law and doesn’t have their DC gun license should be arrested on the spot.” 

“However, in terms of the context, it’s not like any other store or office, it’s the halls of Congress,” he said. “I think enforcement is all on the leadership of the Congress and the House.” 

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Trump’s pardons may be poorly worded enough to leave some people on the hook

Trump turkey pardon 2019
President Donald Trump gives a presidential ‘pardon’ to the National Thanksgiving Turkey Butter in the Rose Garden of the White House November 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. While Butter may be safe, Paul Manafort still faces risks, experts say.

  • President Trump’s pardons leave some of their subjects open to additional prosecution, experts say.
  • His former campaign chair Paul Manafort could still be prosecuted for specific crimes he wasn’t pardoned for.
  • Even Michael Flynn, who received a wider-ranging pardon, could still have it tested by courts.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

On his way out of office, President Donald Trump issued more than 100 pardons, mostly to his personal friends and political allies.

A number of those pardons were for people convicted of federal crimes linked to the Mueller investigation – including his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and advisors Roger Stone and George Papadopoulos.

Trump was sure to malign Mueller’s investigation in his pardon notices. The press release for Manafort’s pardon, for example, said he was “prosecuted in the course of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, which was premised on the Russian collusion hoax.”

Though the president’s pardon powers are broad, a number of prosecutors and experts on clemency laws don’t believe those people are off the hook just yet.

Trump pardoned Manafort for his specific convictions. It’s much more narrowly tailored than the pardon Trump gave to Flynn, for “any and all offenses arising out of the facts and circumstances” brought by Robert Mueller’s office.

It’s also narrower than the pardon President Gerald Ford gave to former President Richard Nixon, which covered a broad timeframe.

“It says ‘for his conviction’ and that’s it. It’s just for the crimes for which he was convicted,” Kimberly Wehle, a University of Baltimore law professor, told Insider. “That is a different wording than Richard Nixon received under his pardon, which is for ‘all conceivable crimes.'”

Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager, in 2019. Trump pardoned him in 2020.

Wehle, who worked under Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr in the Justice Department, said presidents must specify the specific crimes being pardoned.

Beyond that, prosecutors can always try to bring different charges using the same set of underlying facts, she said.

The same point was brought up by Andrew Weissman, Mueller’s second-in-command, in an article for the blog Just Security on Wednesday. Weissman argued that while Flynn’s pardon left “no room for now holding Flynn to account for his past felonious conduct,” the pardon for Manafort was full of holes.

“Specifically, the pardon is solely for the crimes of conviction … That leaves numerous crimes as to which Manafort can still be prosecuted, as in Virginia there were 10 hung counts,” Weissman wrote. “In Washington, the situation is even more wide open. In that district, Manafort pleaded to a superseding information containing two conspiracy charges, while the entire underlying indictment – containing numerous crimes from money laundering, to witness tampering, to violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act – now remains open to prosecution as there was no conviction for those charges.”

Read more: Could Trump mass-pardon his supporters who rioted at the Capitol? Constitutional-law experts weigh in.

There are other obstacles, too.

Prosecutors need to make sure they don’t run afoul of the statue of limitations – though Manafort waived some of those protections, Weissman said. And a judge might decide that prosecutors are simply repackaging the same actions for which a person was pardoned into different crimes, which may run afoul of the Constitution’s double jeopardy protection.

But Wehle said there’s plenty of case law for judges to review. While federal prosecutors have rarely tried to go around presidential pardons, state-level prosecutors have often brought new criminal charges following governors’ state-level pardons and succeeded.

“Say there was a robbery and a murder, and you’re indicted and prosecuted for the robbery, and then later they come back and indict you and prosecute you for the murder,” Wehle said. “I don’t think there’s this a problem with fairness in there.”

Experts think Flynn may not be safe either

Some pardon attorneys even believe that federal prosecutors may still be able to bring new charges against Flynn.

Margaret Love, a clemency attorney and US Department of Justice pardon attorney between 1990 and 1997, believes the pardon for Flynn may have asserted powers that Trump didn’t actually have.

Love told Insider that while Trump could grant Flynn clemency for the crimes he was prosecuted for, a judge might decide that the “any and all offenses arising out of the facts and circumstances” part of it might not hold water.

“The president can assert whatever power he has, but at issue is whether he has the power,” Love said, adding: “I believe there is a strong argument that the constitutional pardon power requires a degree of specificity as to what crime it is pardoning.”

sidney powell michael flynn
Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, leaves the federal court with his lawyer Sidney Powell, in September 2019.

Even the broad pardon Ford gave to Nixon, Love said, has never been tested. The Justice Department never brought the issue before a court to decide whether the sweeping nature of the pardon was valid.

The question of whether Flynn’s pardon would prevent future prosecutions now depends on the appetite of Justice Department prosecutors, and it’s an open question whether Biden’s selection for attorney general, Merrick Garland, would choose to bring another case against him.

“Whoever is the prosecutor in the Flynn case will undoubtedly be looking closely at [the pardon] wording, just like Andrew Weissman was looking closely at [the] Manafort pardon,” Love said. “Then they will decide what to do.”

Attorneys for Manafort and Flynn didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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How a participant in the Capitol riot allegedly stole Nancy Pelosi’s laptop

Riley June Williams ITV News skitched
The FBI used footage from ITV News, seen here, to track how Riley June Williams traveled through the Capitol to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

  • According to the DOJ, Riley Williams took a laptop from Nancy Pelosi’s office during the Capitol riot.
  • Williams’ former romantic partner told the FBI she had plans to sell it to Russia’s equivalent of the CIA.
  • Her mother says she’s been involved in far-right circles.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Department of Justice has publicly charged around 100 people with crimes related to the Capitol riot earlier this year, with more certain to come.

The insurrectionists, seeking to stop Congress’s vote count confirming President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election, stormed in, broke windows, and trashed Congressional offices.

And one of them stole a laptop belonging to the most powerful woman in the history of the United States.

In court papers filed Sunday, federal prosecutors say Riley June Williams, a 22-year-old Pennsylvania resident, appeared to take a laptop belonging to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. One of her former romantic partners told the FBI she had plans to sell it to Russia’s foreign intelligence service.

In footage captured by ITV News, Williams appeared to be one of the rioters guiding others further into the Capitol building and toward Pelosi’s chambers, raising questions about how much planning she put into the events of January 6.

After initially fleeing, Williams was arrested Monday morning. It’s still not clear what she’s done in the two weeks between the alleged laptop theft and her arrest.

Here’s what we know about Williams, how she got Pelosi’s laptop, and exactly how the Russians fit into all of this.

So, who is this woman?

Williams was singled out in a segment from ITV News, a British news organization, as someone who stood out during the Capitol insurrection. She wore a long brown coat and a bright green shirt “with an alt-right slogan.”

Unlike most of the insurrectionists milling about, Williams appeared to have a mission. She pushed other rioters in one direction, yelling “Upstairs, upstairs, upstairs!” according to the ITV footage.

department of justice riley williams
The FBI used footage from ITV News to identify Riley Williams in the Capitol Building. The footage shows her telling people to go upstairs, where Pelosi’s office is located.

ITV News later interviewed William’s mother in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who said her daughter wasn’t home. She said Williams had become involved in “far-right message boards” and frequently attended “rallies” about “wanting America to get the correct information.” ITV also displayed a photo of her holding a military rifle while wearing a face mask bearing a skull illustration.

According to the FBI affidavit filed in court as part of the charges against Williams, her mother told Harrisburg police officers her daughter had left home and said she would “be gone for a couple of weeks” without saying where she would be going.

Jonathan Lund, the FBI agent who wrote the affidavit, said Williams had deleted her Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Telegram, and Parler accounts following the insurrection.

How did she know how to get Pelosi’s laptop?

The degree to which Riley planned her incursion into the Capitol building remains unclear.

According to the FBI affidavit and ITV News video footage, Williams appears to have breached the Capitol building with a crowd and went to its southern wing, where the House of Representatives does its work.

She traveled through Statuary Hall to the Small House Rotunda (close to the Capitol Crypt) where she then brought a crowd up a flight of stairs and to Pelosi’s office, the ITV footage and FBI affidavit shows.

Other footage of Williams shows her carrying a zebra print bag with something inside that’s roughly the size of a laptop. You can see her at around the 10-second mark in the video below:

Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said the laptop was “used only for presentations.”

It’s not clear what files were on the laptop, whether it has network access that allows it to access other files in Pelosi’s office, and what steps have been taken to secure it. A representative for Pelosi didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

How did the FBI find her?

riley june williams capitol.JPG
Riley June Williams in a booking photograph obtained from the Dauphin County Prison in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. January 19, 2021.

Footage of Williams first circulated broadly in an ITV News segment that aired on January 12. According to the FBI affidavit, a “former romantic partner” of Williams made several phone calls to the FBI’s tip line for the Capitol riot after watching the segment and said their ex was there.

FBI agents then matched up the person in the footage with Williams’s Pennsylvania divers license photograph and confirmed they were the same person. Harrisburg police officers also confirmed with Williams’s mother that she was at the Capitol during the attack.

Are the Russians involved?

Williams’s ex who called the FBI also said Williams had a plan to send the laptop to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell it to the SVR – the Russian equivalent of the CIA.

The ex also said the transfer “fell through for unknown reasons” and that Williams “still has the computer device or destroyed it,” according to the FBI affidavit.

Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

The affidavit says the matter remains under investigation.

Williams is set to appear at a hearing Tuesday afternoon in a court in Dauphin County, which includes Harrisburg. The county court clerk’s office told Insider the hearing would not be made available to the public.

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What we know about the laptop that was stolen from Nancy Pelosi’s aide during the Capitol siege

nancy pelosi
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sanitizes the gavel after Vice President Mike Pence walked off the dais during a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 election results on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021.

  • Since the deadly siege on the US Capitol, lawmakers have reported various items stolen from their offices. Misinformation surrounding the items has already started to spread.
  • A laptop that belonged to an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was one of the items reported stolen.
  • Here’s what we really know about the laptop, and some of the claims that have been shared about it.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When US Capitol staff returned to work following the violent insurrection by pro-Trump extremists, they found broken windows and their offices pillaged.

A laptop that belonged to an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was one of the items reported stolen.

Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, announced last week that the aide’s laptop, which he said was “only used for presentations,” was taken from a conference room in the Capitol.

While far-right activists have already started spreading misinformation about the device – with some claiming it was taken by US Special Forces because it contained evidence of election fraud – there is no evidence that’s the case.

The disinformation has stemmed from comments made by Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney.

McInerney has falsely claimed that Antifa is responsible for the riots and that panic over the laptop, which he claims is full of damning information, is why Democrats sought to impeach President Donald Trump.

Read more: The right-wing conspiracy theories that fueled the Capitol siege are going to instigate more violence

Ken McGraw, a public affairs officer for US Special Operations Command, told USA TODAY on Wednesday the agency had nothing to do with the missing laptop.

“We have not received any reports or information that anyone in Special Forces or any other Special Operations Forces units entered the US Capitol on 6 January and stole Speaker Pelosi or any other congressional members’ laptops during the riot,” he told USA Today.

Another false viral claim about the laptop alleged that Trump was at Cheyenne Mountain military base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, looking at “evidence” taken from the laptop.

According to Snopes, this claim seemed to stem from a post on the right-wing social media platform Parler, which has since gone offline after Amazon stopped hosting the website due to violent content.

The post also falsely claimed Pelosi was “stopped at the border” and would be brought to an “undisclosed location” as a result of the “evidence.”

However, according to Trump’s public schedule, he has not visited Cheyenne Mountain. Save for a trip to Alamo, Texas on January 12 to visit the border wall, the president seems to have not left DC since the Capitol siege.

There’s also no evidence Pelosi took a trip to the border. Snopes reported the Parler post was shared on January 6, however Pelosi was in Congress late January 6 and into the early morning hours of January 7, finishing the certification of the electoral votes.

The laptop isn’t the only device that was taken during the insurrection. CNN reported that House Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina reported an iPad stolen.

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon tweeted a video that showed rioters stealing a laptop, USA Today reported.

There have also been false claims about papers being stolen from offices in the Capitol.

Brendan Keefe, an investigative reporter at Atlanta’s WXIA-TV station, debunked a letter that people online claimed was stolen from Pelosi’s desk.

The fake letter, which Keefe edited to show it was photoshopped, appeared to show Pelosi giving the mayor of Portland advice about how to blame Trump for civil unrest.

Expanded Coverage Module: capitol-siege-module

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The feds insist there’s enough vaccine for all states after some officials questioned why the government cut back their shipments

Vaccine sticker, US, Kentucky
Dr. Jason Smith showed off his bandage after getting vaccinated at the University of Louisville Hospital.

  • The federal government says it’s on track to get the expected number of coronavirus vaccines out to Americans, but some states are confused why they could be getting fewer doses than they thought.
  • Six states have reported they are seeing up to a 40% reduction in the number of doses they expected.
  • Pfizer has said it has delivered every dose that was ordered and has millions more waiting for shipping instructions.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It’s game time as the first batches of coronavirus vaccines are being administered to high-priority Americans, and state officials are eager to get their hands on shipments.

Despite being nearly a year into the pandemic, communication between government agencies, state officials, and manufacturers over the distribution of the vaccine continues to be an issue.

Earlier this week, officials from about six states – including Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida – spoke out after they learned they would receive up to 40% fewer doses than initially expected.

Operation Warp Speed officials said Tuesday they’ll ship out about 8 million doses in total next week – nearly 2 million from Pfizer and 5.9 million from Moderna once the US Food and Drug Administration authorizes the second vaccine for emergency use.

DeSantis blamed Pfizer for a “production issue”, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

But Pfizer said in a statement seen by Insider that it had already shipped out all of the 2.9 million doses the pharmaceutical giant was asked to by the federal government and that there are millions more sitting in warehouses with no shipping instructions.

“Pfizer is not having any production issues with our COVID-19 vaccine, and no shipments containing the vaccine are on hold or delayed,” the statement said.

Outdated numbers in Pentagon software could be the cause of the confusion

Covid Vaccine
States are eager to get their hands on the COVID-19 vaccine.

McClatchy DC reported on Thursday that the confusion could be traced to a Pentagon system that was designed to keep track of the coronavirus vaccine. To test the system – called Tiberius – officials filled it with supply projections to get a sense of how it would work.

When the FDA issued its first emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine last week, the projections in the software remained in place and led local officials to believe that was the number of doses they’d receive, McClatchy reported.

“Tiberius has been online for a couple of months, and it’s where a lot of the exercise and planning modules were where they could see potential allocations,” an unnamed federal official told the DC outlet. “The problem is that they kept those exercising and planning modules in there, and that’s what people were looking at as late as last week.”

Two senior Trump administration officials, also speaking on anonymity, made similar comments to the Associated Press.

They told the outlet that states are on track to receive their full allocations of the vaccines, but misunderstandings about the vaccine supply and changes to the delivery schedule might be playing a role in the confusion.

One of the officials said the initial numbers of available doses the federal government provided to state officials were based on projections, but not set in stone.

Changes the federal government made to the delivery schedule could also be contributing to the understanding that fewer doses are on their way, the AP reported.

Pfizer Vaccine Transport
Pfizer coronavirus vaccines are packed for transport.

The change also involves spacing out delivery of the planned number of doses for each state over several days instead of sending it all at once, one of the officials told the AP. The Pfizer vaccine, for example, must be kept at -94 degrees Fahrenheit, so the logistics of shipping and storing doses must be precise.

The US Department of Health and Human Services told Business Insider there was never a reduction in shipments.

The department said it had only provided three official allocations numbers to states: the first week of both Moderna and Pfizer doses, and the second week of Pfizer doses, the spokesperson said.

The allocations provided are based on population data for individuals over 18 and will depend on the number of vaccine doses available, the email said.

Each week, Operation Warp Speed will let states know how many doses are available for the following week.

The operation is on track to allocate enough vaccine for about 20 million Americans by the end of the month, the spokesperson said.

The department didn’t address why there was a disconnect between what local officials believed they would be receiving in the coming days.

“Reports that jurisdictions’ allocations are being reduced are incorrect,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to Business Insider. “As was done with the initial shipments of Pfizer vaccine, jurisdictions will receive vaccine at different sites over several days.”

“This eases the burden on the jurisdictions and spreads the workload across multiple days,” the email continued.

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