US Shifts To Speed COVID Shots As Cases And Deaths Rise

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks during a news conference on Operation Warp Speed and COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

(AP) — Barely a month into a mass vaccination campaign to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration has unexpectedly shifted gears to speed the delivery of shots.

A slow start had triggered widespread concern from states and public health officials. But Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced two major changes.

First, the government will no longer hold back required second doses of vaccines, practically doubling supply. And, second, states should immediately start vaccinating other groups lower down the priority scale, including people age 65 and older and younger people with certain health problems. That aligns the Trump administration with President-elect Joe Biden, who earlier said he would not hold back second doses.


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