Panama City, FL –
WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) – Instead of maintaining a reserve, the Trump administration will begin releasing all COVID-19 vaccines in the country during its final days in the White House.
The Biden administration planned to end the current policy of restricting the supply for second doses.
“Get more and more vulnerable people in our country vaccinated,” said Dr Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Redfield and other Operation Warp Speed officials reported on Tuesday that the United States has now vaccinated about nine million people against the coronavirus, but has produced nearly 40 million doses.
“We clearly have enough vaccines at this point to start developing,” Redfield said.
Redfield urged states to start vaccinating people 65 and older, as well as those 64 and under with documented comorbidities.
“Each dose of vaccine placed in a warehouse rather than in an arm could mean one more life lost or one more busy hospital bed,” Health Secretary Alex Azar said.
Azar announced that states will receive doses based on the percentage of these specific populations, instead of the entire state population, starting at two weeks. Under the new guidelines, vaccine allocation will also be based on the number of doses received by a state versus the number distributed.
“This shouldn’t necessarily hurt many states, but will increase the benefits for those who get vaccinated and get vaccinated,” Azar said.
Data from some states continues to show slow distribution efforts. As Redfield investigates whether this is a reporting problem, Azar has blamed some state leaders.
“Some governors have overreacted,” he said.
Azar said the new performance incentives should correct any backlogs.
“If you try to be too micromanaged, too fit, too focused, you let the perfect be the enemy of the good in a mass vaccination campaign like this,” he said.
Those officials said if supplies start to run out, Americans who need their second dose will be given priority.
Dr Moncef Slaoui, chief advisor to Operation Warp Speed, expects millions of doses of a third vaccine to be available next month. Unlike the first two, it does not require a second dose.
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