The Trump administration is releasing millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses it was holding back for use as second doses in order to vaccinate Americans older than 65, as well as Americans with underlying health conditions.
 
Appearing on a morning news show, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, “The administration in the states has been too narrowly focused.”
 
“We now believe that our manufacturing is predictable enough that we can ensure second doses are available for people from ongoing production,” Azar told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “So, everything is now available to our states and our health care providers.”
 
He said the new strategy would not interfere with Americans waiting for a first dose.
 
While the federal government provides the two-shot vaccine to the states, each state distributes them according to its own plan. Most states had prioritized health care workers and nursing home residents.
 
“We’ve already distributed more vaccine than we have health care workers and people in nursing homes,” Azar said. “We’ve got to get to more channels of administration. We’ve got to get it to pharmacies, get it to community health centers.”
 
He said the federal government “will deploy teams to support states doing mass vaccination efforts if they wish to do so.”
 
As of Monday, the CDC reported that almost 9 million Americans had received the first shot of the vaccine.


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