Governors urged to ensure COVID vaccination as CDC addresses adverse events

 

Today in separate press conferences the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and members of Operation Warp Speed addressed the two major hurdles facing COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in the United States: slow distribution and safety concerns.

Since the vaccines were approved for emergency use in mid-December, most states have focused on vaccinating the recommended top priority groups: healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. But no states have yet to fully use their current allotment of vaccine.

“We cannot let perfection be the enemy of good,” said Department of Health and Human Services Director Alex Azar during an Operation Warp Speed media briefing on vaccine rollout. “Prioritized recommendations are simply recommendations, they should never stand in the way of getting shots in the arms.”

Azar said the slow start was partly explained by the timing of vaccines arriving during the winter holidays. But he also said governors needed to be more aggressive in distributing vaccines.

“We need to not be overly prescriptive,” he said, explaining that if people in top priority groups had been offered the vaccine and doses were left over, governors should quickly start offering the vaccine to people over the age of 70 or 65, or those at risk for being hospitalized with severe COVID-19.

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