Infectious Disease

The US is releasing extra COVID-19 vaccine doses as authorities urge states to extend availability

January 12, 2021

3 min read

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Disclosure:
Adalja, Azar, Redfield and Slaoui do not report any relevant financial information.

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Officials announced Tuesday that the United States will provide all doses of COVID-19 vaccines that were kept in reserve and that states should begin vaccinating people who were not in the original groups Set priorities.

The announcement – which could open vaccination to millions more people, including anyone aged 65 and over – came as criticism that the introduction of the vaccine in the country has been slow and supply has so far exceeded vaccination rates.

Covid vaccination

The US will provide more doses of COVID-19 vaccine and reduce the age of eligible vacinees to 65 years.
Photo credit: Adobe Stock

“It is time to move on to the next phase of the vaccination schedule. Any vaccine dose sitting in a warehouse instead of walking in an arm could mean another life is lost or another hospital bed is occupied, ”said HHS secretary Alex Azar II said during a press conference.

Azar explained that stockpiled doses – held to ensure that anyone who received a first dose of either of the two approved vaccines received a second dose – will first be released to cover the second doses and then available as the first dose.

Alex Azar II

Robert R. Redfield

He said the revised plan shouldn’t mean that second doses of the vaccines, given either 21 or 28 days apart, should be delayed and that the government “has a 100% obligation to ensure” that everyone gets a dose receives, also receives a second.

Allocation of doses is based on the pace of administration reported by each state and the number of priority groups, Azar said, adding that states would have two weeks to organize for the new plan – a schedule that coincides with in-depth administration overlaps when HHS and CDC are owned by different people.

Amesh A. Adalja

The plan is similar to a proposal due to be announced by the president-elect this week Joseph R. Biden Jr., CNN reported who would also be calling for almost all available doses of vaccine to be released. Biden has set himself the goal of vaccinating 100 million people in his first 100 days in office.

Azar reckoned the US could vaccinate 1 million people a day in about a week or 10 days. The initial rollout was much slower. By January 11, nearly 25.5 million vaccine doses had been distributed, but fewer than 9 million people had received a vaccine dose, according to the CDC. The prosecution by Johns Hopkins University shows that more than 22.6 million people in the United States have been infected and more than 377,000 have died from COVID-19.

Federal guidelines set by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices last month recommended that the initial phase of vaccinations include healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities, and the next phase include patients aged 75 and over and key frontline workers, including first responders .

But CDC director Robert R. Redfield, MD, said Tuesday the guidance shouldn’t mean that each phase has to be completed before the next begins.

“Although the prioritization groups have been well thought out and evidence-based, they are gradually becoming an obstacle to the uptake of vaccines in people’s arms.” Amesh A. Adalja, MD, sEnior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said Healio. “We don’t want prioritization groups to be dogmatically pursued without flexibility and cans to be thrown in the trash or kept in the freezer. The overall goal of getting vaccines into people must be a priority. “

Azar said the new guidelines state that states should open up vaccination to all those most at risk, including those 65 and over and those under 65 with documentation of comorbidity. Some states, including New York, have already announced that they will make vaccines available to people aged 65 and over.

Azar said states should also open more vaccination delivery sites, including “bulk vaccination sites.” California has started opening sites like Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for vaccination.

Army Gen. Gustave F. Perna, The head of Operation Warp Speed, the federal plan to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine research, said the distribution of vaccines to pharmacies and other locations will increase and that vaccines will be ready “wherever states want them.”

Moncef Slaoui, PhD, The chief advisor for Operation Warp Speed ​​briefed on some of the other COVID-19 vaccines under development. He said a single-dose vaccine developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals could be submitted to the FDA for emergency approval by the end of the month and be available for distribution by mid-February. Vaccines being developed by AstraZeneca and Novavax could be available in March or April, he said.

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