Last week, President-elect Joe Biden announced that his incoming administration would not keep COVID-19 vaccines idling in freezers as boosters for folks who have already been inoculated with the first of two doses. Instead, his team would release all doses now and count on future production to provide the second doses in the coming weeks. This way, far more people could get some initial protection from the virus—a particularly timely consideration, as diagnosed COVID-19 cases have been soaring throughout the U.S. Additionally, it is urgent to get more Americans vaccinated as soon as possible before the spread of a much more contagious variant makes the pandemic even worse.
Much to their credit, Trump administration officials will reportedly announce later today that they will adopt the Biden administration's vaccine rollout plan in which doses currently being reserved will be made available almost immediately. In addition, instead of insisting on the complicated recommendations which prioritize groups such as health care workers, nursing home residents, and a variety of "essential workers" for vaccination, the Trump administration will urge states to make vaccinations available to Americans aged 65 and older. If the goal is to dramatically reduce mortality and stress on the health care system, this makes sense since this age group accounts for around 80 percent of COVID-19 deaths and 45 percent of hospitalizations.
In the meantime, as Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna continue to ramp up their vaccine production, fingers are crossed that the Johnson & Johnson one-shot COVID-19 vaccine will prove effective and become available in the next few weeks. If approved, the company says that it is "on track" to deliver hundreds of millions of doses in the first half of 2021.