The race to vaccinate millions of Americans is off to a slower, messier start than public health officials and leaders of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed had expected.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Terry Beth Hadler was so eager to get a lifesaving COVID-19 vaccination that the 69-year-old piano teacher stood in line overnight in a parking lot with hundreds of other senior citizens.

Hadler said that she waited 14 hours and that a brawl nearly erupted before dawn on Tuesday when people cut in line outside the library in Bonita Springs, Florida, where officials were offering shots on a first-come, first-served basis to those 65 or older.

“I’m afraid that the event was a super-spreader,” she said. “I was petrified.”

The race to vaccinate millions of Americans is off to a slower, messier start than public health officials and leaders of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed had expected.

Overworked, underfunded state public health departments are scrambling to patch together plans for administering vaccines. Counties and hospitals have taken different approaches, leading to long lines, confusion, frustration and jammed phone lines. A multitude of logistical concerns have complicated the process of trying to beat back the scourge that has killed over 340,000 Americans.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking for patience, noting the vaccine supply is limited.

“It may not be today for everyone, may not be next week. But over the next many weeks, as long as we continue getting the supply, you’re going to have the opportunity to get this,” he said Wednesday.

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