FILE - Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Illinois Department of Public Health, 1-30-2020

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, speaks at a news conference Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Chicago.

(The Center Square) — Echoing the governor, Illinois’ top doctor told a U.S. House of Representatives committee that the state’s COVID-19 response was hurt by dysfunction at the federal level. 

In a hearing aimed at finding ways to boost the nation’s vaccination numbers, the House Energy and Commerce Committee spoke to medical officials from several states. 

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike attended, saying in her prepared remarks that she was thankful for the Biden administration’s competent approach to working with states in the pandemic response. 

“From the outset, vaccination efforts in Illinois and throughout the state have been limited by vaccine supply and sometimes complicated by inconsistent messages regarding allocations,” she said. “Operation Warp Speed promised to Illinois and the nation a steady cadence of vaccine oftentimes fell short with reduced or postponed allocations which left Illinois receiving fewer than expected doses. After meticulous planning to vaccinate the target population for Illinois’ Phase 1B, which was shaped by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendations, the previous administration changed the priority group without forewarning.” 

Illinois is in the bottom six states in terms of the percentage of vaccines they’ve administered as compared to how many they’ve received, according to the New York Times. Only Idaho, Missouri, Iowa, Alabama, and Kansas had administered lower percentages of first shots. As of Monday, Illinois has administered 1,054,814 shots.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker blamed the Trump Administration for the state’s slow rollout as well as two national pharmacies, CVS and Walgreens, with slow-walking their vaccination of long-term-care residents. CVS later refuted Pritzker’s comments, saying the state waited until the last week in January to activate the programs in half of its facilities.

Regional Editor

Cole Lauterbach is a regional editor for The Center Square covering Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. For more than a decade, Cole has produced award-winning content on both radio and television.