States say they need more money to distribute COVID-19 vaccine


While recent announcements from Pfizer and Moderna have raised hopes about a possible COVID-19 vaccine, several state officials have said they still need federal government money to ensure they can distribute the vaccine when it is released.

States say they will need more money from the federal government to hire staff to administer vaccines, develop data systems to track doses and communicate the importance of getting vaccinated.

At least a dozen states told ABC News that they will likely need additional funding or are awaiting additional funding. Other states suggested they are still deciding whether they will need additional funding.

Trish Riley, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, said she wants to avoid a repeat of the problems the country faced early in the pandemic, when states were competing for essential resources like personal protective equipment and ventilators.

“That’s the wake-up-at-night worry,” Riley told ABC News. “States can’t do this alone.”

According to a letter to Congressional leaders from groups that represent local health officials and immunization managers, states may need as much as $8.4 billion in extra funding.

States have received $200 million from the CARES Act and are expected to receive $140 million more in December to design vaccine distribution plans and start updating the necessary information systems, but multiple states said they will need more federal money and still don’t know how much will be available.