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CEO DATELINE – AHA raps federal government on vaccine rollout

Jan. 8, 2021
By William Ehart

The American Hospital Association on Thursday urged the Trump administration to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations and to work with AHA members and hundreds of thousands of affiliated doctors and nurses on the process.

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“[T]he slow pace of the vaccine rollout has led to concern about whether the task of vaccinating all who are able to take the vaccine will happen as quickly as federal leaders have suggested it would,” AHA CEO Rick Pollack said in a January 7 letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Pollack also faulted the federal government for failing to establish lines of communication.

“It is unclear who is responsible for answering questions or by what mechanism all interested parties will receive the answers to these questions” about vaccine distribution, he wrote. 

“We urge you to establish a process within HHS with the ability to be able to coordinate the national efforts among all of the states and jurisdictions and the many stakeholders; answer all of the questions expeditiously; establish and maintain effective communication among all involved; and identify and resolve barriers to the rapid deployment of millions of doses of vaccines,” Pollack wrote.

Asked by The Hill newspaper about the letter, an HHS spokesperson pointed to actions the department has already taken, including accelerating the use of pharmacies to distribute vaccines and urging states to open up vaccinations to more people if demand is not high enough in the initial groups.

“Through CDC and Operation Warp Speed, we are committed to continuing the daily work we have been doing with states and jurisdictions for months to execute on their plans for vaccine administration,” the spokesperson told The Hill.