States short billions in funding needed for COVID-19 vaccinations

Providing COVID-19 vaccinations to all Americans will cost states billions of dollars they don't have, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Although the federal government is paying for COVID-19 vaccines, syringes, needles, face masks and shields, state leaders say they are still on the hook for other vaccination needs. 

For example, states must hire medical workers to give the vaccine, provide community education and outreach about the vaccine, set up vaccination clinics and ensure storage availability for the vaccines. 

HHS has already sent more than $300 million to states to support flu and COVID-19 vaccine planning, according to the report. But experts say the funds are not enough. 

During a Senate hearing last week, Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania's health secretary and president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers, said that states will need $8.4 billion for the vaccination program.

"This will not be a short-term operation," Dr. Levine said, according to the Journal. 

She said without more federal funding or coordination, states would likely be competing with each other for resources. 

The additional expense of vaccine distribution and inoculation comes at a time when state tax revenue is down due to the pandemic, according to the report.

The funding woes and resource shortfalls may slow the pace of vaccinations, the Journal reported.  

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