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Drug officers at Capitol Hill have questions about vaccine supplies

WASHINGTON (AP) – Leaders of COVID-19 major vaccine makers are set to answer questions from Congress on Tuesday about expanding staffing needed to contain the epidemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans.

The hearing comes as US vaccines continue to accelerate from a slow start to the latest disruptions due to winter weather. But state health officials say the demand for vaccines still exceeds the limited weekly deliveries provided by the federal government.

The panel of the Energy Trade Committee will hear from five companies that have contracts to supply COVID-19 shots to the United States. Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca և Novavax:

“We want to know what these companies are doing to boost production. What else can be done to make these vaccines more available to those who need them?” The Colorado Democrat heads a commission of inquiry overseeing U.S. health care.

Pharmacists are expected to have sharp questions about the lack of raw materials, manpower or funding to limit production rates. Lawmakers are also expected to ask whether further use of the Defense Production Act, a Cold War law used to force private sector production, could help speed up the process.

In a written statement issued Monday, the company’s management did not describe any deficiencies or other bottlenecks that have not been resolved.

More than 75 million doses of Pfizer և Moderna’s two shot vaccines have already been distributed to the states, with almost 14% of Americans receiving at least the initial dose. Pfizer expects to ship more than 13 million doses a week by mid-March.

New Brunswick, NJ-based J&J said in a statement that it would be able to supply a $ 20 million dose of its COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March, assuming it would be given the green light by federal regulators. The company has promised to supply 100 million shares to the US government by the end of June.

The company has previously released few details about its initial deliveries, although White House officials warned last week that they would be limited.

J&J Vice President Richard Netless intends to tell lawmakers that the company has “serious challenges” in expanding its vaccine because of its “very complex” manufacturing process. Nettles notes that by the end of 2021, the company will continue to deliver on its promised US quota and $ 1 billion worldwide.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to provide emergency approval for the J&J vaccine soon this weekend, providing the first one-time protection against the virus.

Despite the restrictions, federal health officials say the United States is in the process of advancing supplies, լրացուցիչ additional doses of hundreds of millions of vaccines are scheduled for delivery by the end of June, just ahead of previous forecasts. That would be enough to fulfill the government’s goal of providing enough staff for almost every adult American.

Even without production or supply disruptions, other problems can delay or prevent the US from vaccinating 70% to 80% of its population. The threshold required to neutralize the spread of COVID-19.

One in three Americans say they will definitely or probably not get the vaccine, according to a recent poll by the Associated Press-NORC. Safety concerns have been the most frequently cited reason for vaccine hesitation, despite some serious vaccine side effects currently available.

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Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this story.

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The Associated Press Health Science Department is supported by the Science Education Department of Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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