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States should open COVID-19 vaccines to older Americans, other groups, FDA chief says

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said states should open up COVID-19 vaccines to everyone at risk

A dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is placed into a syringe, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Boston.
A dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is placed into a syringe on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Boston.
Elise Amendola, Associated Press

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said Friday that states should start vaccinating lower-priority groups to help protect them against the novel coronavirus, CNBC reports.

What’s happening?

Hahn said states should start giving shots to groups who “make sense,” like the elderly and those with preexisting conditions, including police, firefighters, essential workers and more.

“We’ve heard in the press that some folks have said, ‘OK, I’m waiting to get all of my health care workers vaccinated. We have about 35% uptake of the vaccine.’ I think it reasonable to expand that” to other groups, Hahn said Friday morning during an event hosted by the Alliance for Health Policy. “I would strongly encourage that we move forward with giving states the opportunity to be more expansive in who they can give the vaccine to.”

Hahn said “data and science” should drive the decision-making by the states.

Hahn said the COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be given to everyone, but rather those who are at risk.

More officials say the same:

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told governors across the country Wednesday that they should bypass the priority plan and release the COVID-19 vaccine to as many people as possible, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.

  • Azar said the U.S. should not let “perfection be the enemy of the good.”
  • “We would much rather see states move as quickly as possible and use every possible avenue to meet demand — as places like Florida are trying to do — then to leave the vaccines sitting in freezers,” Azar said. “It would be much better to move quickly and end up vaccinating some lower priority people than to let vaccine sit around while states try to micromanage this problem. Faster administration could save lives right now.”