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Supply Is Biggest Issue Baker Tells Panel Examining Bumpy Vaccine Rollout

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker testified late Thursday morning before the oversight committee looking into the state's bumpy vaccination rollout.

He told the Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management the process has been difficult and that there was "no excuse" for the appointment website not working properly. But Baker told the panel the biggest issue is the limited supply of the vaccine.

The governor said the state receives 450,000 requests for doses each week, but only gets 130,000 doses from the federal government. He believes the state's vaccine rollout will speed up once that allocation increases.

"Until we have significant increases in supply, which I'm hoping starts in March, we are constantly going to be dealing with issues of frustration and anxiety, which I totally get," the governor said. "People want to move past this."

One state senator asked Baker if he would apologize and Baker said yes. The governor was asked to return to testify again in two weeks and he said he would.

Tiffany Tate, the CEO of PrepMod, a non-profit organization out of Maryland, testified after Baker. Her company manages the appointment system for Massachusetts' mass COVID-19 vaccine sites. It took "full responsibility" for its role in last Thursday's website crash.

"Our system was the only system in the nation when this pandemic hit. A CDC report determined that," Tate told the panel. "So now we have one system that's now being asked to talk to other systems or to integrate with other systems that are new systems, you could expect these challenges."

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel will also testify starting at 4 p.m.

This will be the first in a series of oversight hearings on the state's COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan. The others will be scheduled in the coming weeks.

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