HHS Expands Vaccine Program, Will Tap All Doses

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.

The Department of Health and Human Services is expected to announce sweeping changes Tuesday in vaccine rollout guidelines in an effort to boost the lagging number of vaccinations in the first month. "Every vaccine dose that is sitting in a warehouse rather than going into an arm could mean one more life lost or one more hospital bed occupied".

Azar said the government will stop holding back the required second doses and deliver them to state authorities. But Azar said the administration is confident about supply from manufacturers.

The Trump administration plans to change recommendations on who should get the COVID-19 vaccine to include everyone age 65 and older and younger adults with medical conditions, a major change ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's plans to announce a similar approach later this week. He predicted that in a week to 10 days, 1 million people would receive vaccinations daily.

"We typically look for at least 70% or upwards of 90% of the population having received a vaccine before we can really say heard immunity takes full effect", said Robert Hawkes, the director of the physician assistant program at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Alex Azar told ABC News that the manufacture of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines was now "predictable enough that second doses are available for people from ongoing production". Health experts say flooding the market with vaccines for first shots could create confusion in the members of the public already showing "vaccine hesitancy".

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