The U.S. Surgeon General Just Made a New COVID Vaccine Recommendation

The nation's top health official says that changes should be made to the rollout process.

As the coronavirus vaccine continues to be rolled out across the U.S., there's growing concern that the pace isn't as quick as it needs to be. As record-breaking surges continue to rise, some experts—including U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD—are arguing that the current system in place to decide who can get a shot and when may need to be retooled. Adams recently made the surprising recommendation to "move quickly to other priority groups" and administer available doses where they are needed instead of following the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by the book.

"If healthcare workers don't want to get these vaccines in some places … then we need to move on to the older than 75 group," Adams said in a new interview with Today. "We need to move on from there to essential workers."

Read on to see what else he had to say, and for another update on the virus, check out Dr. Fauci Just Issued This Warning About Another New COVID Strain.

Read the original article on Best Life.

The surgeon general said states should be giving vaccines to others if priority groups turn them down.

Injecting covid vaccine into patient's arm
iStock

During an on-air interview with NBC's Today show on Jan. 5, Adams lamented that perfectly good doses of the highly coveted vaccine were sitting in freezers unused as large numbers of high priority folks turned down the opportunity to get inoculated. As a result, Adams argued that shots should be made available to others, and not to stick to the CDC's rollout groups so strictly.

"Your headline today really should be, 'Surgeon General tells states and governors to move quickly to other priority groups,'" Adams said during the interview. "If the demand isn't there in [group phase] 1a, go to 1b and continue on down."

According to the CDC, the vaccine priority groups are as follows:

  • 1a: Healthcare personnel and long-term care residents
  • 1b: Frontline essential workers and people 75 years and older
  • 1c: People 65 to 74 years old, people 16 to 64 with underlying medical conditions, and other essential workers

Later in the interview, Adams added: "If healthcare workers don't want to get these vaccines in some places—and you saw in Ohio that 60 percent of nursing homes' staff said they didn't want it—then we need to move on to the older than 75 group. We need to move on from there to essential workers."

He said simply, "Get those vaccines to where they're going to be taken up." And for a brand-new vaccine concern, check out The Newest COVID Strain Could "Weaken" the Vaccine, Expert Warns.

Adams also suggested moving shots to other locations if places aren't using them.

fizer vaccine against Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections on the production line
Shutterstock

"If the demand isn't there in one location, move those vaccines to another location," Adams said on Today.

Some states have taken this vaccine recommendation to new levels, Reuters reports. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that his state will fine hospitals that don't administer their allotted COVID vaccines within a week of receiving them and will not provide them with further doses. Similarly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said, "Hospitals that do not do a good job of getting the vaccine out will have their allocations transferred to hospitals that are doing a good job at getting the vaccine out." And for more on who should be cautious about the vaccine, check out If You've Done This Recently, You Could Have a Bad Vaccine Reaction.

Adams called out four states for doing "a really good job" with vaccine rollout.

Mid adult female doctor at home visit giving a vaccine to a senior patient
iStock

"The problem really is that we need to continue to do a better job of matching up supply and demand at the local level," Adams said. "Some states are doing a really good job: You have red states like North Dakota and South Dakota, but blue places like D.C. and Connecticut who have distributed 75-plus percent of their vaccines. But you have some states that still haven't distributed more than 25 percent of their vaccine. So we need to make sure we're getting the supply to where the demand is."

He also pointed out that the demand is particularly high in Florida, where seniors have been waiting hours in line to get vaccinated. And for more regular coronavirus updates, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Adams said some doctors are adhering too strictly to CDC recommendations.

Doctor preparing COVID vaccine
Shutterstock

Even as some states have moved into vaccinating residents above the age of 65 outside of the recommended timelines from the CDC, Adams pointed out that many doctors feel bound to the recommendations of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

"Many folks—and I've been to states all across the country—feel beholden to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' guidelines to vaccinate everyone in group 1a before they move to 1b, and beyond," Adams said. "What I want people to know is, these are guidelines, but we've been telling these states since September that we need to make sure we're prioritizing getting everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible, while trying to adhere to the guidelines."

Written guidelines released by the CDC specifically encourage flexibility to "ensure expeditious transition from one phase of COVID-19 vaccine allocation to the next," clarifying that "it is not necessary to vaccinate all individuals in one phase before initiating the next phase; phases may overlap." And for more on what you shouldn't do with the vaccine, check out The FDA Just Ruled You Can't Do These 4 Things With the COVID Vaccines.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
Filed Under