Azar urges states to ‘accelerate’ coronavirus vaccine distribution
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says states need to open rollout for the coronavirus vaccine to ages 65 and older.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar urged states to "accelerate" their coronavirus vaccine rollout by opening up to more people and prioritizing vulnerable populations.
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"Some states are at 80% of vaccines administered that they've received, some like New York are at 30%. This micromanagement bureaucracy from the center has to stop," Azar told “Varney & Co.”
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"They've got to open up to age 65 and above, age 64 and below that have comorbidities and risk because this is the way we protect our most vulnerable citizens," he said.
Azar touted Connecticut Gov. Lamont and West Virginia Gov. Justice as models with high success rates whom other governors should follow.
"We've got 38 million doses of the vaccine available … but only 27 million have been distributed because we don't have orders for all the vaccine we've got. We've got to get the states to accelerate their administration by opening up the aperture to more people," Azar explained.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration issued new directives after states nationwide have been plagued by hiccups and lagging vaccination rates.
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When asked if individuals who get vaccinated should wear masks or continue to social distance, Azar responded, "We don't yet have the data sufficient to say that you can't get the virus and spread it to others.
"For now we're saying if you get vaccinated, still wear your mask, practice social distancing, do those things," he said.
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Amid reports of doses being thrown out in some states due to regulations, Azar said the planning should be in place to have people lined up and, if not given to a vulnerable population, they should be made available to anyone else.
"We've seen thousands of mutations of this virus. It's what coronaviruses do, and so far, with regard to say the vaccine, there's no evidence to show in any way that the mutations impact the protection of the vaccine."
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As of Monday, the U.S. had distributed over 25.4 million doses of vaccine, but only administered 8.9 million.
Fox News' Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.
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