Federal public health officials will recommend states expand access to Covid-19 vaccines to everyone ages 65 and up, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.
The guidelines are intended to widen the pool of people who can receive the vaccine. Of the more than 25 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine that have been delivered nationwide, just under 9 million shots had been administered as of Tuesday, according to the CDC.
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Most states are still trying to get the vaccine to those in the first phases of the rollout: health care workers, those over age 75 and front-line essential workers, such as firefighters and police officers, as well as teachers, corrections officers, U.S. postal workers, public transit workers and those whose jobs are essential for the food supply.
The new guidelines, which are set to be announced by Operation Warp Speed as early as Tuesday, are also expected to include adults of any age with an underlying health condition that would put them at risk for complications or more severe illness.
States will not be required to follow the new CDC guidelines. 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.”
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Last week, President-elect Joseph Biden announced his administration planned to release all available doses of coronavirus vaccines to the states. Operation Warp Speed has been holding back half of the doses in an effort to make sure recipients could receive their second dose.
Both vaccines currently in use require two doses, three to four weeks apart, for maximum effectiveness.
Last week, Dr. Stephen Hahn, head of the Food and Drug Administration, also suggested states should “strongly” consider vaccinating lower-priority groups.
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