Wednesday, January 20, 2021

US seeks to expand access to Covid-19 vaccines as rollout delays

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The US federal government will release more doses of Covid-19 that had been kept in reserve and intends to reduce the allocation of jabs to states that did not administer them quickly enough, as it attempts to overcome them. a slow start to distribution.

Alex Azar, secretary of health and social services, accused some states to be ‘authoritarian’ and micromanage the distribution, and urged them to open up vaccination to all people over 65 and with underlying illnesses that make them vulnerable to Covid-19, as the news recommends US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

So far, more than 25 million doses have been distributed nationwide but only 9 million have been administered, according to CDC data. The new distribution stage will see injections administered at mass vaccination sites and at retail pharmacies.

Mr Azar said it made “sense” to give more vaccine to states that use it. The allocation system would start in two weeks to give states time to prepare, he added. Allocations would also be based in part on the population over 65 in each state.

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“Every dose of vaccine that is in a warehouse, rather than going into an arm, could mean one more life lost, or one more busy hospital bed,” Azar said at a report. Press.

This decision comes as hospitalizations due to Covid-19 are reaching daily records, with a particularly intense crisis in Southern california. Nearly 370,000 people have died in the United States from Covid-19, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.

The CDC’s guidelines for prioritization of vaccinations follow a similar approach to that of Florida, where anyone over 65 is allowed to be vaccinated on a “first come, first served” basis. The policy has led some older people to have to wait long periods of time to be vaccinated.

In accordance with CDC guidelines, New York will now allow people over 65, alongside younger immunocompromised, to receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

The move would mean at least 7 million New Yorkers would be eligible for vaccinations, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday. As of Monday, 579,532 people in New York City had received their first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the CDC.

The US government is also releasing more doses that had been kept in reserve to ensure people get their second injection, after President-elect Joe Biden’s team pledged to release vaccine stocks once he takes his shots. functions.

But unlike the UK, the United States plans to provide enough doses to meet the original immunization schedules. Mr Azar warned that leaving a longer interval between doses would be “unwise”.

Operation Warp Speed ​​- the task force set up to accelerate the development and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines – is confident that it will have sufficient supplies from manufacturers.

He said he had had extensive cooperation with Moderna and now enjoys greater visibility and confidence in the production capabilities of Pfizer, which is developing its vaccine with its German partner BioNTech.

Mr Azar also urged vulnerable people who test positive for Covid-19 to pressure their doctors for antibody treatments, echoing concerns raised by Regeneron, a biotechnology company that is developing a cocktail of antibodies, on Monday.

“We have products on the shelves that can help keep people out of the hospital,” he says. “It’s just as unacceptable as vaccines on the shelves.”

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