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Trump administration expected to change course on vaccine distribution

The Department of Health and Human Services is expected to announce sweeping changes Tuesday in vaccine rollout guidelines in an effort to boost the lagging number of vaccinations in the first month.

The Trump administration plans to release reserved second doses immediately, a senior administration official tells CNN — a plan already announced by President-elect Joe Biden that was first reported by CNN. The official expects reserved doses to be distributed over the next two weeks.

The new plan would also change guidelines to allow vaccinations immediately for anyone older than 65 and would help states set up mass vaccination sites should they request assistance. The administration wants to shift focus away from hospitals and focus more on adding more accessible venues, such as pharmacies, the source said.

This will attempt to address a reoccurring issue states have faced in trying to administer the vaccine through hospitals and medical providers that have said they don’t have the resources or personnel to serve as vaccination clinics.

The change in guidelines, which is expected to be announced at a noon briefing Tuesday by Operation Warp Speed, is a significant shift from the approach taken by the Trump administration which had previously balked at releasing all available doses. Both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines require two rounds of injection, and while releasing nearly all vaccine doses on hand could quickly ratchet up availability, it also runs the risk of depleting resources that are necessary to make sure people are fully vaccinated, foreign media reported.


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