Story at a glance
- The Trump administration will recommend administering the coronavirus vaccine to everyone 65 and older in the U.S.
- Health officials will also recommend that adults with preexisting conditions that make them vulnerable to severe illness be given the vaccine.
- The administration will also stop holding back millions of doses reserved for the second round of shots.
The Trump administration is expected to issue new guidelines Tuesday to expand COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to everyone age 65 and older in the U.S. in an effort to accelerate the nation’s lagging vaccine distribution, The New York Times reports.
So far, more than 25.4 million doses have been distributed across the country, with nearly 9 million people receiving the first shot of the two-dose vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s a significant shortfall from the Trump administration’s estimate last year that 20 million people would receive the shot before the end of 2020.
As the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths soar across the country, federal health officials are now expected to recommend the vaccines be administered to all adults with preexisting conditions that make them more likely to experience serious illness from the coronavirus. Vaccines are currently only being distributed to people in high-risk groups, including health care workers, elderly people in nursing homes and other front line workers.
The administration is reportedly planning to ramp up the number of sites where people can be vaccinated.
The Trump administration will also stop holding back millions of doses reserved for the second round of shots. The federal government has been holding back half of the available doses to make sure there is enough supply for everyone who is getting a first dose to later get the second jab as well.
This comes after President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team announced Biden would release the doses immediately to administer as many shots as possible once he assumes office.
The New York Times reports the Department of Health and Human Services will announce the new guidelines during a briefing today.
The change comes as the U.S. is reporting more than 246,000 new cases per day and more than 3,200 daily deaths, according to The Covid Tracking Project.
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