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Trump administration expected to change course on vaccine distribution

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports on vaccine hesitancy among some healthcare workers, a new challenge for distributing the coronavirus vaccine as cases continue to increase throughout the US.

Posted: Jan 11, 2021 3:33 AM
Updated: Jan 12, 2021 6:00 AM


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.

The Trump administration plans to release reserved second doses immediately, a senior administration official tells CNN -- a plan already announced by President-elect Joe Biden that was first reported by CNN. The official expects reserved doses to be distributed over the next two weeks.

The new plan would also change guidelines to allow vaccinations immediately for anyone older than 65 and would help states set up mass vaccination sites should they request assistance. The administration wants to shift focus away from hospitals and focus more on adding more accessible venues, such as pharmacies, the source said.

This will attempt to address a reoccurring issue states have faced in trying to administer the vaccine through hospitals and medical providers that have said they don't have the resources or personnel to serve as vaccination clinics.

The change in guidelines, which is expected to be announced at a noon briefing Tuesday by Operation Warp Speed, is a significant shift from the approach taken by the Trump administration which had previously balked at releasing all available doses. Both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna's vaccines require two rounds of injection, and while releasing nearly all vaccine doses on hand could quickly ratchet up availability, it also runs the risk of depleting resources that are necessary to make sure people are fully vaccinated.

The changes come after two Operation Warp Speed meetings held by HHS Secretary Alex Azar over the past 48 hours about how to speed up the lagging process, according to the official. Vaccine manufacturing has not ramped up as rapidly as many experts had hoped.

As recently as last week, Operation Warp Speed pushed back on the Biden team's plan to release all doses now.

'If President-Elect Biden is calling for the distribution of vaccines knowing that there would not be a second dose available, that decision is without science or data and is contrary to the FDA's approved label,' OWS spokesman Michael Pratt said Friday in light of Biden's announcement. 'If President-elect Biden is suggesting that the maximum number of doses should be made available, consistent with ensuring that a second dose of vaccine will be there when the patient shows up, then that is already happening.'

Last week, two top officials from the FDA said anyone who receives those vaccines needs both doses, dismissing the idea of stretching the supply by allowing just one dose or cutting doses in half.

They also dismissed other ideas for stretching the vaccine supply and said people who are speculating about the possibility of making do with just one dose or cutting doses in half are misinterpreting the data.

'We have been following the discussions and news reports about reducing the number of doses, extending the length of time between doses, changing the dose (half-dose), or mixing and matching vaccines in order to immunize more people against COVID-19,' FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and Dr. Peter Marks, who heads FDA's vaccine division, said in a statement at the time.

Nearly 9 million people have received their first doses of vaccine and nearly 25.5 million doses of vaccine have now been distributed, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. But that's far behind initial administration estimates, which at one point predicted 20 million Americans would be vaccinated by the end of 2020.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus is surging across the United States. More than 200,000 new Covid-19 cases have been reported every single day over the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University, and the US has averaged more than 3,200 reported deaths each day over that period.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 396501

Reported Deaths: 5268
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah61066850
Washington42631406
Marion40277517
Clackamas33256388
Lane30473363
Jackson25211363
Deschutes23984192
Umatilla15155184
Linn14966184
Douglas13608295
Josephine10357248
Yamhill9878145
Klamath9120152
Polk8347103
Benton622940
Malheur593592
Coos5806109
Columbia441156
Jefferson426066
Lincoln367952
Crook343958
Union341456
Wasco319646
Clatsop265435
Baker222533
Tillamook219846
Hood River217237
Morrow198425
Curry194239
Harney121733
Grant109116
Lake106318
Wallowa76313
Sherman1933
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1161
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5127121

Reported Deaths: 74911
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153745027248
San Diego4104514351
Riverside3912955388
San Bernardino3784085998
Orange3367395771
Sacramento1699162460
Kern1588341838
Fresno1581872284
Santa Clara1536961933
Alameda1262241513
San Joaquin1084911837
Ventura1049251194
Contra Costa1046451058
Stanislaus922291434
Tulare869791102
San Francisco57458674
San Mateo56861631
Monterey52973626
Solano48014360
Santa Barbara47846555
Merced45506672
Sonoma43609414
Placer42736473
Imperial39148778
Kings35547369
San Luis Obispo31803360
Madera26511311
Shasta26353462
Butte25690320
Santa Cruz22540224
Yolo21792263
Marin18728249
El Dorado18544168
Sutter14691186
Napa13501107
Yuba1084791
Humboldt10360119
Tehama10329133
Nevada10187105
Mendocino873799
Lassen801259
San Benito793979
Tuolumne782691
Lake7073113
Amador583267
Siskiyou480757
Glenn460336
Calaveras449988
Del Norte380442
Colusa329821
Inyo259446
Plumas19679
Mono19274
Mariposa163318
Trinity102117
Modoc7956
Unassigned3820
Sierra2210
Alpine1080
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