New guidelines have just been announced to drastically increase the amount of Covid-19 vaccines given across the country.
Alex Azar, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, discussed the shift today on Good Morning America. “We are calling on our governors to now vaccinate people aged 65 and over, and under age 65 with [underlying health conditions],” he said. Before this announcement, the vaccine rollout varied from state to state with a focus on frontline workers and residents of nursing homes.
This new initiative will be made possible by no longer reserving vaccines for second doses. Instead, the second rounds will rely on new batches being made. “We had been holding back second doses as a safety stock. We now believe that our manufacturing is predictable enough that we can ensure second doses are available for people from ongoing production,” Azar explained. “So everything is now available to our states and our health care providers.”
Azar also claimed we can expect to see more locations for the vaccination pop up, too, including pharmacies and community centers. “We will deploy teams to support states doing mass vaccination efforts if they wish to do so,” he said.
One such mass vaccination effort was already announced in Los Angeles, where cases have been surging at an alarming rate, with plans to switch Dodger Stadium from being a testing facility to a vaccination site. The LA Times reports that officials hope to administer an average of 12,000 vaccinations per day starting this week.
According to ABC News, the CDC claims there are 53 million residents of the United States over the age 65, all of whom are now eligible for the vaccine. Plus, more than half of adults under 65 may also now qualify due to health issues like cancer, compromised immunity, diabetes, heart or lung conditions, and more.
Clearly, there will be a lot more people ready to line up for their shots soon. We certainly hope this news will help finally keep case numbers and tragic losses from spiking.