WASHINGTON — More than a dozen U.S. Senate Democrats are urging congressional leaders to include “robust” funding in any coronavirus relief package for states to prepare for vaccine distribution.

“Dedicated funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution is especially critical now as jurisdictions are facing historic budget shortfalls amid the pandemic and funding for health departments had been inadequate even before the COVID-19 pandemic began,” according to Monday’s letter.

The letter’s 16 signers include Sens. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

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