Coronavirus: Feds to release second vaccine doses

The Trump administration reversed course saying that the administration of vaccines has been “too narrowly focused.”

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar says that the federal government will be releasing previously withheld second doses of the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccines.

In a Jan. 12 interview on “Good Morning America,” Azar said they are pushing states to vaccinate all people over the age of 65 saying that state vaccination efforts have been “too narrowly focused.”

According to a report on the interview from USA Today,Azar said he believes that the nation’s manufacturing is “predictable” enough so that second doses will reasonably be available from the ongoing production so that the federal government can start making the entire current stock available to the states.

The statement came the day after Politico reported President-elect Joe R. Biden allegedly dressed down his own COVID team for underperforming in their efforts to achieve his vow of 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days of his administration.

The approval of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were lauded late last year and led to a feeling of celebration across the country, but that feeling has subsided as the vaccination pipeline seems to have stalled in recent weeks. As of Jan. 11, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 25 million vaccine doses have been distributed across the country while only about 9 million have been administered.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) wrote to Azar earlier this week calling for HHS to establish a process to coordinate the national vaccination efforts and reduce barriers to vaccination.