Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had a clear statement to governors across the country Wednesday — bypass the priority plan and release the COVID-19 vaccine to as many people as possible.
- Azar said the U.S. should not let “perfection be the enemy of the good.”
What’s going on?
Azar said the focus of COVID-19 vaccine distribution should center on vaccinating more people rather than on who should get the shots first, according to USA Today.
The original focus was on health care workers and nursing home residents. But 70% of doses still sit on pharmacy shelves, USA Today reports. So Azar suggests moving those vaccines to people.
- “We would much rather see states move as quickly as possible and use every possible avenue to meet demand — as places like Florida are trying to do — then to leave the vaccines sitting in freezers,” Azar said. “It would be much better to move quickly and end up vaccinating some lower priority people than to let vaccine sit around while states try to micromanage this problem. Faster administration could save lives right now.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention originally said nursing home residents and health care workers should be among the first to get the vaccine.
More changes to COVID-19 vaccine plan
The Daily Beast reports that some senior officials working with the White House coronavirus task force have pushed for states to get the COVID-19 vaccine to whoever wants it.
- States across the country should give out excess COVID-19 vaccines to whoever wants to receive it. The officials suggest states stop trying to come up with a strategy and focus on a first-come, first-served to make sure vaccines don’t expire.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA chief, called on major pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens to start distributing the COVID-19 vaccine now in order to get it to more people, as I wrote about for the Deseret News
- “Make the vaccine more generally available through the retail pharmacies, through Walmart and Walgreens and CVS to a broader population, to a general population starting with age,” Gottlieb said in an interview on the “Face the Nation” program. “We can walk it down the age continuum, make it available for 75 and above first, then 70 and above, and 65 and above. There’s 50 million Americans 65 and above, a large percentage of them probably want to be vaccinated. At some point, we need to allow supply to meet demand here and get the shots into the arms of the people who really want to get vaccinated and are going to go out and seek out the vaccination.”