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The Latest: US Concerned About Adequate Supplies For Vaccine

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A medical workers works in a COVID-19 set up for rapid new coronavirus testing in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The Austrian government has moved to restrict freedom of movement for people, in an effort to slow the onset of the COVID-19 disease and the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

(AP) – A government watchdog agency says most states are concerned they won’t have adequate supplies to administer COVID-19 vaccines, which are expected to start becoming available for high-priority groups in the next few weeks.

The congressional Government Accountability Office said in a report Monday that 17 states are “greatly” or “completely” concerned about having adequate supplies to administer vaccines, while another 21 states said in an agency survey they were “moderately” concerned.

The federal government’s “Operation Warp Speed” campaign aims to start shipping vaccines within 24 hours of an emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration. But there’s concern about the final, local delivery links in getting vaccines finally into people’s arms, sometimes referred to as the “last mile” in the chain.

Initially vaccines are expected to go to health care workers, with nursing home staff and residents, and essential workers getting the next highest priority.

GAO said senior officials from six states stated they were specifically concerned about the federal government’s ability to supply needles given reports of shortages. Three of those states also said they were scrambling to maintain supplies of needles for flu vaccination.

The GAO report did not identify the states.

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