The Trump administration has asked States to release all covid-19 doses available with them instead of holding them back for the second dose. Earlier, the states had implemented a strategy of keeping doses in reserve for providing the booster shots. Apart from that, the states also expected some glitches in the manufacturing process, and they wanted to reserve the second dose so that everyone who gets the first dose would be able to get the second one at the right time.
However, the Federal government has said that there are no issues with the manufacturing and distribution process, and they have complete control over them at the moment. In this regard, there was no need to keep the additional doses in reserve, and all the doses can now be used to vaccinate the eligible residents.
Trump Administration Directs States To Release All Covid Vaccine Doses
Alex Azar, Health Secretary, said that it does not make sense to hold back doses as a safety stock as the manufacturing is completely predictable, and the government can ensure that second doses are available at the right time.
Last week, Biden had indicated that he is in favor of releasing all doses in order to vaccinate as many people as possible within a short duration of time. The vaccine administration process was going at a slow pace due to this reason. It was clearly evident from the data as only about one third of the vaccines that were delivered to the states was used for the Frontline Healthcare workers. The federal authorities have so far delivered more than 22 million doses of covid-19 to several states in the US. Among them, only about 7 million doses have been used to vaccinate people, and the rest are kept in reserve to provide the second dose in the next few weeks.
As the number of coronavirus cases is rising rapidly across the country, health experts feel that there is no need to wait for a long time in order to vaccinate all the people. This should be given urgent priority, and all the available doses should be used immediately to vaccinate the most vulnerable people in the community. In this way, the number of hospitalizations and deaths can be reduced by a huge margin in the next few weeks. The CDC had also indicated that the next few weeks are critical as a huge surge is expected due to the recent Christmas holiday travel and gatherings across the country.
Considering this situation, there is no point in keeping the vaccine doses on shelves when millions of people are waiting eagerly to receive the protection at the earliest. According to government officials, the situation is likely to improve in the next few weeks as the vaccines are sent to several pharmacies across the country. Most of them will be able to accept online appointments, and this will improve the vaccination program in several States. Many governors are also considering setting up separate vaccination centers in order to give a boost to the mass vaccination program.
Apart from these changes, the administration is also asking the states to consider vaccinating elderly people as they are more likely to suffer complications in case of an infection. In this manner, the states will be able to reduce the number of hospitalizations by a significant margin in the next few weeks. Some states are also considering to include teachers and other essential workers in the first phase of the mass vaccination program. They expect to reopen the schools in a normal manner by choosing such options in the next few weeks.