Plans to release vaccine doses deferred for booster shots
The Trump administration plans to release doses of the coronavirus vaccine that have been set aside for repeat vaccinations and recommends that states offer them to all Americans over age 65, Health Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday on ABC.
The move is in line with President-elect Joe Biden’s plans to speed up vaccinations in the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that most states vaccinate health care workers first, as well as employees and residents of nursing homes. Vaccination of these groups has been slow, in part because of the difficulty of administering the vaccine to these groups.
Last week, the CDC made it clear that states could move on to the next priority group – people over 75 and employees in critical areas – without completing the first round of vaccinations, but so far fewer than 20 states have done so.
Now, Azar said, the government will urge governors to vaccinate all citizens over 65. He said there is a need to expand the availability of vaccinations at community health centers and pharmacies. The federal government will also send people to mass vaccination centers.
According to Bloomberg, CDC head Dr. Robert Redfield will send a letter of recommendation to governors on Tuesday.
The new strategy will require that manufacturers be able to maintain a steady supply for timely re-vaccinations. Two vaccines are currently approved for use in the U.S., one from Pfizer and BioNTech and one from Moderna.
As of Monday, about 9 million people had received the first dose of the vaccine, according to the CDC.