Surgeon general blames COVID-19 vaccination delays on state, local funding shortages

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Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams says lack of state and local funds may be one reason why millions of COVID-19 vaccines distributed to states across the country have yet to be given to patients.

Just under 3 million people have received the vaccine, despite the Trump administration promising to administer 20 million by the end of December.

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Still, Adams said on ABC's "Good Morning America" the federal government is "on track" to have 20 million doses of the vaccine "on the ground by the end of next week," a tempering of President Trump's initial goal.

The federal government has looked to shift blame to the states, with Trump tweeting Wednesday for state officials to "get moving" on doling out shots to first-priority candidates such as health care workers and elderly patients in nursing home facilities.

"There's vaccines manufactured, there's vaccines allocated, there's vaccines delivered, and then there's vaccines put in arms," Adams said.

"I used to run a state health department. People forget that we've always underfunded public health going back several decades. And so chronically, we need to continue to fund state and local public health better," he added.

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Governors in several states, however, have complained that federal funding is lacking, creating a widening gap between the number of vaccines on hand and the number of people who are receiving them.

The federal government has caught flak for confusion over the vaccine's rollout, with President-elect Joe Biden slamming Trump's efforts at distributing vaccinations in a timely manner as "falling behind, far behind."

Biden said he has directed his team "to prepare a much more aggressive effort with more federal involvement and leadership to get things back on track" once he assumes office on Jan. 20.

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"We'll find ways to boost the pace of vaccinations," he said, reiterating a goal of "ensuring that 100 million shots have been administered by the end of the first 100 days."

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