Monday, 25 January, 2021

USA won't hold back second Covid vaccine doses: health secretary

Gustavo Carr | 13 January, 2021, 20:26

"We've had so much success with quality and predictable manufacturing and nearly flawless distribution of the vaccine, but we have seen now that the administration in the states has been too narrowly focused", he said on "Good Morning America".

Public health officials say the pace is picking up somewhat - nearly 9 million people have received their first dose according to CDC data - but experts say the pace needs to increase and that state and local jurisdictions need more resources and support to resolve the bottleneck.

Azar also announced increased vaccine supply and the pace of manufacturing will ensure everyone who gets a first dose will get a second dose on schedule.

Federal public health officials will recommend states expand access to Covid-19 vaccines to everyone ages 65 and up, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

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States will not be required to follow the new CDC guidelines.

As part of efforts to expand access to Covid vaccines, the federal government will allow makers to release all their available doses instead of reserving booster shots, the USA health secretary said Tuesday. Operation Warp Speed has been holding back half of the doses in an effort to make sure recipients could receive their second dose.

This will attempt to address a reoccurring issue states have faced in trying to administer the vaccine through hospitals and medical providers that have said they don't have the resources or personnel to serve as vaccination clinics.

Both vaccines now in use require two doses, three to four weeks apart, for maximum effectiveness.