Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced two major changes to the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan on Tuesday. States are now directed to vaccinate anyone 65 or older, as well as anyone below 65 with comorbidities, and the government will now release a large supply of doses it had been withholding to ensure that vaccinated Americans got their second dose.
“We are calling on our governors to now vaccinate people aged 65 and over, and under age 65 with a (health condition) because we have got to expand the group,” Azar said. And while the newly released doses can now be used as a first or second dose of the vaccine, Azar stressed that Operation Warp Speed is “100% committed to ensuring a second dose is available for every American who receives the first dose.”
“Because we now have a consistent pace of production, we can now ship all of the doses that had been held in physical reserve, with second doses being supplied by doses coming off of manufacturing lines with quality control,” the secretary said. “Going forward, each week, doses available will be released to first cover the second doses and then cover additional first vaccinations.”