The Trump administration is releasing second doses of coronavirus vaccines that had been held back for booster shots and is urging states to administer the vaccine to anyone over age 65 and people with pre-existing health conditions, a shift from its earlier guidance to give priority to doses for health-care workers.
“First, we have already made available every dose of vaccine. So we had been holding back second doses as a safety stop,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Tuesday. “We now believe that our manufacturing is predictable enough that we can ensure second doses are available to people from ongoing production. So everything is now available to our states and our health-care providers.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25.4 million doses of vaccine have been distributed, but only 8.9 million Americans have received a shot.
Axios first reported the planned announcement.
The decision could help increase the number of people who receive the vaccine. But it also raises the risk of not having reserves to provide booster shots and could strain some states that lack the staffing or infrastructure to meet potential demand.