Pressure grows for states to open vaccines to more groups of people
The debate over how soon states should broaden people's eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines is escalating as the death toll from the coronavirus continues to rise.
The debate over how soon states should broaden people's eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines is escalating as the death toll from the coronavirus continues to rise. President-elect Joe Biden on Friday said when he takes office on January 20, his administration will release nearly all available doses to states rather than retain one-half to ensure each recipient receives a booster dose. Florida, Louisiana, and Texas have already added more people to their eligible categories even though not all of those in the CDC's first priority group—health care workers and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities—have been immunized. On Friday, New York said the state would allow people aged 75 years and older and certain essential workers to start receiving a vaccine on Monday. Many health officials warn that reaching a wider section of the population requires significantly more funding for states, and more time to modify systems for rapidly redistributing excess vaccines. States also need to increase the number of vaccination sites and implement reliable appointment systems to prevent long lines and wait times.