February 2, 2021 Media

The Gazette: DeGette to lead oversight panel hearing of sluggish COVID-19 vaccination rate

The congressional panel that Denver’s Democratic U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette leads will hold a Tuesday hearing about the slow pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States.

“This upcoming hearing will give us an opportunity to understand what’s holding up our efforts to distribute this vaccine throughout the country as quickly as possible,” DeGette said in a statement. “It will give us a chance to hear directly from state and local health officials who are on the ground about the challenges they face in getting the vaccine into the arms of more Americans sooner, and what the federal government can do to improve that effort.”

Over the weekend, POLITICO reported that the Biden administration discovered upon taking office that 20 million doses of the vaccine had been sent to states, but no record existed of patients receiving them. People familiar with the federal government’s role told the outlet the Trump administration never began work on a plan to inoculate the vast majority of Americans who are not elderly or healthcare workers.

Among other state health officials, Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on Feb. 2.

DeGette’s office said that as of Jan. 28, the federal government had distributed 48.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 26.2 million — little more than half — have been administered.