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States should expand access to Covid-19 vaccines to everyone 65 and older

Jan. 12, 2021, 8:42 AM CST / Updated Jan. 12, 2021, 1:50 PM CST

By Erika Edwards

States should expand access to Covid-19 vaccines to everyone 65 and older, as well as any adult with an underlying health condition that might raise the risk for complications of Covid-19, members of Operation Warp Speed recommended Tuesday.

The guidelines are intended to prompt faster distribution of the vaccines by making more people immediately eligible for vaccination, as well as expanding the potential locations where people can receive it. Of the more than 25 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine that have been delivered nationwide, just under 9 million shots had been put into Americans' arms as of Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Every vaccine dose that is sitting in a warehouse rather than going into an arm could mean one more life lost," Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar said during a media briefing Tuesday, where he and other administration officials announced the recommendations.

Most states are still trying to get the vaccine to those in the first recommended phases of the rollout: health care workers, those over age 75 and front-line essential workers, such as firefighters and police officers, as well as teachers, corrections officers, U.S. postal workers, public transit workers and those whose jobs are essential for the food supply.

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