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HHS announces sweeping changes in COVID-19 vaccine rollout guidelines

COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine(Toni Zieske)
Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 6:09 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday (Jan. 12) announced sweeping changes in COVID-19 vaccine rollout guidelines. It’s an effort to boost the lagging number of vaccinations seen in the first month of distribution.

The plan is to release reserved second doses immediately. HHS is also changing guidelines to recommend that states have vaccinations available for anyone who is 65 or older. One other change is the way in which the federal government allocates a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We will be allocating them based on the pace of administration as reported by states, and by the size of (the) 65-and-older population in each state,” United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said.

That will be effective in two weeks, giving states time to prepare for the change and improve data reporting to the government. Azar said states are not reporting vaccinations in a timely manner.

On Tuesday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman discussed the vaccine distribution in Kansas. While reports said Kansas was 50th out of 50 states in vaccinations, Dr. Norman said that never was actually the case. The problem, he said, was that the reporting system lagged behind. Now that data is catching up, Kansas has joined most states in the top tier of vaccine distribution.

“...We like to run people through, gather their information, then batch enter is, so the data will always lag,” Dr. Norman explained.

He said 190,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have gone out to the state of Kansas and most of those doses have been used. Dr. Norman said Kansas’ limiting factor is the amount of vaccine the state gets.

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