Health Care

Federal government calls for states to vaccinate people 65 and older, immunocompromised

Azar said the federal government would now be recommending that states begin to widen the criteria for who gets vaccinated, starting with people over 65 without health conditions and people under 65 with health conditions.

The guidelines are meant to widen the pool of people who can receive the vaccine.

"We would much rather see states move as quickly as possible and use every avenue possible to meet demand, than to leave vaccines sitting in a freezer", said Azar.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the policy shift on Tuesday.

More news: 67 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health; 446 in BC | iNFOnews

Public health officials say the pace is picking up somewhat - nearly 9 million people have received their first dose according to CDC data - but experts say the pace needs to increase and that state and local jurisdictions need more resources and support to resolve the bottleneck. In a letter Monday to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield wrote that the recommendations "should not be interpreted as regulation", adding that the guidance "is meant to be flexible and adaptable".

This marks a break from the previous plan in which second doses were held back for those people who had received their first, to ensure that there is no delay.

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 Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require boosters after three and four weeks, respectively.



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