The Trump administration, in a bid to hurry up COVID-19 vaccination efforts, is asking states to widen distribution to incorporate individuals ages 65 and older, and others who’re at excessive danger for extreme sickness by releasing second doses that had been beforehand being reserved for individuals who already had the primary shot.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar stated Tuesday that the administration is assured sufficient in vaccine manufacturing to make sure second doses can be found when individuals want them. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the one two to obtain emergency use authorization within the U.S., require two doses of vaccine spaced a number of weeks aside.
Previously, the directive had been to first administer the vaccine to well being care staff and residents of long-term care services earlier than shifting onto the following part of distribution, however states nationwide have been suffering from hiccups and lagging vaccination charges.
As of Monday, the U.S. had distributed over 25.4 million doses of vaccine, however solely administered 8.9 million.
The shift in steering comes after Azar stated it was decided that the federal government had distributed extra vaccine than obligatory for well being care staff and folks in nursing houses and that the following stage of distribution should additionally embody pharmacies and group well being facilities with the intention to velocity alongside the method.
Azar stated that the federal authorities can be keen to help in establishing mass vaccination facilities.
President-elect Joe Biden is predicted to present a speech later this week outlining his plan to hurry vaccination efforts, which incorporates releasing as many doses as attainable slightly than reserving a certain quantity to make sure provide for second doses.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.