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Health officials across US cite lack of federal leadership for slow vaccine rollout
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Health officials across US cite lack of federal leadership for slow vaccine rollout

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Public health officials sounded the alarm for months, complaining that they did not have enough support or money to get COVID-19 vaccines quickly into arms. Now the slower-than-expected start to the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history is proving them right.

As they work to ramp up the shots, state and local public health departments across the U.S. cite a variety of obstacles, most notably a lack of leadership from the federal government. Many officials worry that they are losing precious time at the height of the pandemic, and the delays could cost lives.

States lament a lack of clarity on how many doses they will receive and when. They say more resources should have been devoted to education campaigns to ease concerns among people leery of getting the shots. And although the federal government recently approved $8.7 billion for the vaccine effort, it will take time to reach places that could have used the money months ago to prepare to deliver shots more efficiently. Read more:

Here's an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.

  • House lawmakers may have been exposed to someone testing positive for COVID-19 while they sheltered at an undisclosed location during the Capitol siege by a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump.
  • England’s chief medical officer warned Monday that the coming weeks would be the worst of the pandemic for the National Health Service as he appealed to the public to strictly follow guidelines meant to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • California is closing in on 30,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic as hospitals scramble to find beds for severely ill patients during a continuing spike in COVID-19 case numbers.
  • Experts from the World Health Organization are due to arrive in China this week for a long-anticipated investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, the government said Monday.
  • South Africa is struggling to cope with a spike in COVID-19 cases driven by the spread of its more infectious variant during widespread holiday travel.
  • Most Wuhan patients who had been hospitalized with Covid-19 still suffered a variety of symptoms -- including fatigue and sleep difficulties -- six months after infection, a Chinese study has found.

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for the latest virus numbers.

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In the run-up to the big day, it had been rumored that the incoming commander in chief would be sworn in wearing a Ralph Lauren suit, a selection foreshadowed, perhaps, by his choice of a Ralph Lauren polo shirt (with a very visible outsized logo) to his COVID-19 vaccination this month.

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Biden was most assuredly not alone on the monochrome color train. Newly minted Vice President Kamala Harris opted for a single color palette for her history-making swearing in. In her case it was purple, one of the colors that featured prominently in her earlier campaign for the White House. According to CNN’s Abby Phillip, the color was a nod to the trail-blazing Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to U.S. Congress who ran for president in 1972, but it can also be seen as a symbolic uniting of red and blue — as in the red state and blue state divisions that have characterized the country for the last four years.

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