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News from Washington: GAO Examines Federal Efforts to Provide COVID-19 Vaccines to Racial and Ethnic Groups

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled “COVID-19: Federal Efforts to Provide Vaccines to Racial and Ethnic Groups” as part of its ongoing oversight efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. GAO examined actions taken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide COVID-19 vaccines to underserved and historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups through their vaccination programs.  

CDC, HRSA, and FEMA data suggest that the agencies’ COVID-19 vaccine programs vaccinated varying shares of racial and ethnic groups. Forty-three percent of people vaccinated through the CDC’s retail pharmacy program, the largest of the programs, were from racial and ethnic groups other than non-Hispanic White, exceeding the agency’s goal of 40%. However, GAO found that some racial and ethnic groups, such as non-Hispanic Black persons, represented a disproportionately smaller share of people vaccinated through the program.  

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