Fast-Track Vaccines

New vaccine plan looks to reward more efficient states with more doses

Andy Uhler Jan 13, 2021
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A 72-year-old long-term care patient receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 21, 2020, in Chula Vista, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images
Fast-Track Vaccines

New vaccine plan looks to reward more efficient states with more doses

Andy Uhler Jan 13, 2021
Heard on:
A 72-year-old long-term care patient receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 21, 2020, in Chula Vista, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has switched up the federal government’s approach to vaccine distribution. It’s making more people eligible for the shot now, and states will get more vaccine doses if they are more successful getting it into people.

Azar was critical of the way some states are distributing vaccines. The new approach looks to reward those states that are the most efficient by giving them more doses.

“The reasons why a state might be slow in its vaccine rollout is not something that can be cured by changing the incentives on how many future doses they’re going to get,” said Josh Michaud, a director of global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Azar said states have two weeks to ramp up distribution and reporting to meet the new standards.

The CDC has also expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility to everyone 65 and older, along with people with conditions that might raise their risks of complications from COVID-19. The changes come a week before Joe Biden is sworn in as president.

“This is creating a lot of confusion and chaos and anxiety days before a new administration comes in,” said Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers.

Azar said he will brief the Biden transition team on the changes.

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