More COVID-19 vaccine doses will be available to states sooner under changes the incoming Biden administration is expected to make.
According to comments by a Biden transition spokesman made to CNN on Friday, indicating that President-elect Joe Biden will shift to “releasing available doses immediately.”
News of the policy shift comes after a group of Democratic governors — including those from Michigan, Kansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin — this week called on federal officials to accelerate distribution of the available vaccines from Pfizer/BioTech and Moderna.
The Trump administration, through its Operation Warp Speed working group, has held back the second dose of the two-shot vaccine regimens, saying the approach is to ensure that the follow-up dose will be available for each person who receives the initial shot. The data on whether the existing vaccines are effective is based on taking two doses over the course of two to three weeks.
But the vaccine rollout has gone slower than some have hoped. Of the 21.4 million doses distributed to states since federal health officials approved the first vaccine in mid-December, only 6.25 million doses have been given, according to a state-by-state tally by Bloomberg.
Biden transition spokesman TJ Ducklo said in the statement to CNN that more information about how the incoming administration would shift distribution efforts would be announced next week.
“The president-elect believes we must accelerate distribution of the vaccine while continuing to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible,” Ducklo said. “He supports releasing available doses immediately and believes the government should stop holding back vaccine supply so we can get more shots in Americans’ arms now.”
This report first appeared on the website of the Florida Phoenix, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to coverage of state government and politics from Tallahassee.