US President-elect Joe Biden speaks as he announces his Justice Department candidates at his interim headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, USA on January 7, 2020.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters
President-elect Joe Biden plans to release more doses of the Covid vaccines after taking office. This is against the Trump administration’s policy of holding reserve cans to ensure there is enough for second shots and to address manufacturing issues.
The Pfizer Vaccine requires two shots 21 days apart and the Moderna Vaccine requires two shots 28 days apart. Officials of the President Donald TrumpOperation Warp Speed’s vaccination program has withheld half the available doses to ensure that second doses can be given on time.
Some public health professionals have spoken out in favor of releasing all available doses as there is evidence of protection against Covid-19 after the first dose and manufacturers are likely to be able to meet demand for second doses.
“The president-elect believes that we need to accelerate the spread of the vaccine while ensuring that the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible. He supports the immediate release of available doses and believes that the government should cut vaccine supplies so we can do this. ” Get more shots in the arms of Americans now, “TJ Ducklo, a spokesman for Biden’s transition team, told NBC News.” He’ll be sharing more details next week on how his government will begin releasing available cans when he does takes office on January 20th. “
CNN first reported the news.
The change in policy comes after a group of eight governors, all Democrats, wrote to Alex Azar, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and General Gustave Perna, who oversees the logistics for Operation Warp Speed and asks them to distribute “reserved doses” of the vaccines to states ready to distribute them.
Sister Laura Bailey will obtain the Moderna vaccine from the first batch of the Moderna vaccine at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut on December 21, 2020.
Joseph Prezioso | AFP | Getty Images
“Our states stand ready to work around the clock to speed up the spread, get more shots in the arms and save more American lives. General Perna, as you said, ‘a vaccine on a shelf.” stands is ineffective ‘”Governors wrote in the letter. “We couldn’t agree more with you. So we are asking for your help now. If we work together, we can end this pandemic and return to a normal life sooner.”
Operation Warp Speed has argued that there is a need to withhold some available doses of the vaccines to ensure that anyone who gets their first dose gets their booster shot on time. In the event of manufacturing problems, the officials also keep a few cans in reserve.
Officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and Operation Warp Speed did not immediately return CNBC’s request for comment.
The initial introduction of the vaccines was slower than expected, as the US failed to meet its December target of vaccinating 20 million Americans, as federal officials had aimed for.
Senior health officials including Fauci and Dr. However, Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have announced that the pace is expected to accelerate this month. The rollout has already shown some signs of a slow increase in speed.
The US fired more than 600,000 shots in a 24-hour period, the CDC reported Thursday. According to the agency, this is the highest value within a day to date. More than 21.4 million cans were distributed according to the data, but only 5.9 million have been administered.
Amid criticism of a slow initial rollout, HHS officials are now urging states to move beyond the first level of prioritization. Healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities should receive the vaccine first, according to the CDC. But HHS Secretary Alex Azar said earlier this week that states should open up to more old and vulnerable Americans if it will accelerate the pace of the rollout.
In addition to the pressure to vaccinate quickly, there is the arrival of a new strain of the virus. The new variant, known as B.1.1.7, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom, has now been found in at least seven states. While it doesn’t seem to make people more sick, CDC officials believe it can spread more easily. That could make the outbreak worse and quickly overwhelm hospitals. CDC officials said last week.