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Fast-Track Vaccines

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

Andy Uhler Jan 13, 2021
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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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
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.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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