WASHINGTON – The federal government plans to change the way vaccine doses are distributed among states, allowing some governors to refuse doses they don’t need or want, as President Joe Biden is expected to establish plans to get at least one. dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to 70 percent of adults by July 4.
Administration officials told governors on Tuesday that if a state did not want its full allocation, the vaccines would go into a pool and be redistributed to other states in greater need of additional doses, a senior official said. administration. For weeks, some states, like West Virginia, have been reporting unused doses as demand declines, while others, like Michigan, have been calling for more.
“This is really just an indication that we are now in a different phase than we were even a few weeks ago in terms of access to supply and we want to make sure that we release unused and unordered doses.” , said the White House press secretary. Jen Psaki Tuesday.
The move comes as Biden also aims to have 160 million Americans vaccinated with the two doses by Independence Day, a senior administration official said. Biden is expected to make his remarks Tuesday afternoon from the White House. Currently, 56% of adults have received at least one vaccine and 105 million are fully vaccinated, the official said.
To meet these goals, the United States plans to deliver an additional 100 million doses over the next 60 days, a significant slowdown in the pace of immunizations from the past 100 days. To achieve this goal, administration officials recognize that they will need to focus more on getting the vaccine to reach hard-to-reach populations, such as those in rural areas.
“If we move towards this goal, more and more Americans will be protected against Covid-19,” the official said. “We should see the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline and America will have taken an important step towards a return to normalcy.”
Biden will outline several new measures the administration is taking to try to reach those who have not yet been vaccinated, including using $ 860 million from the Covid-19 relief bill passed in March to help fund clinics rural health and hospitals and $ 250 million in funding. for community organizations to contribute to vaccine education and awareness.
Among the groups harder to reach than the administration targets are rural communities whose states are largely rural, such as Mississippi, Utah, and Alabama, which have some of the highest vaccination rates. bottom of the country. To make it easier for Americans in rural communities to access the vaccine, the administration will send doses directly to thousands of health clinics in those areas.
The United States will also require all retail pharmacies receiving vaccine doses from the federal government to offer walk-in vaccines and encourage states to do the same at their sites. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will increasingly dispatch mobile vaccination units and set up small temporary vaccination sites to reach harder-to-reach groups.
If the Food and Drug Administration allows the Pfizer vaccine to be used in children 12 to 15 years old, a move one might expect in the coming days, the federal government plans to send the doses immediately to pediatricians and physicians. family physicians.
A senior administration official said the 70 percent mark would not necessarily mean the United States has achieved collective immunity because public health officials do not know the precise level at which it will be achieved. But it will lift further restrictions and bring life back closer to normal.
“The more you vaccinate people, the more you can get out of some of the public health restrictions,” a senior administration official said. If the United States manages to meet the 70% target, “we can do what we all want to do, which is to continue and gradually revert to the restrictions, so that we can resume our normal lives.” .