After a slow vaccine rollout, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar described on Good Morning America on Tuesday changes that will make all vaccine doses available in the US, broaden the groups states are urged to vaccinate and open more channels of administration.
Azar said the change is “just a staging, moving to the next phase on the vaccine program,” although a senior administration official tells CNN the shifts comes after two Operation Warp Speed meetings Azar held over the past 48 hours on how to speed up the lagging process.
As recently as Friday, Operation Warp Speed had pushed back on the Biden administration plan to release all available vaccine doses.
“We’ve had so much success with quality and predictable manufacturing and almost flawless distribution of the vaccine, but we have seen now that the administration in the states has been too narrowly focused,” Azar said Tuesday.
As part of the new plan, “we have already made available every dose of vaccine,” Azar said, explaining that second doses were previously held back. “We now believe that our manufacturing is predictable enough that we can ensure second doses are available for people from ongoing production. So everything is now available to our states and our health care providers.”
Second, he said, they are calling on governors to vaccinate people 65 and older and people younger than 65 with comorbidities, saying “we’ve already distributed more vaccine than we have health care workers and people in nursing homes.”
Finally, “we’ve got to get to more channels of administration, we’ve got to get it to pharmacies, get it to community health centers,” he said, adding that they are there and will deploy teams to supports states doing mass vaccination efforts if they wish to do so. He also said “it has been overly hospitalized so far in too many states.”