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White House COVID taskforce 'is debating telling states to give the vaccine to ANYONE regardless of the order of priority if it is at risk of expiring and becoming worthless'

 Members of the White House coronavirus task force are considering recommending states abandon their carefully-considered rules detailing who gets vaccinated against COVID-19 first to make sure none of the vaccine goes to waste, according to a report.

Twenty four million doses of vaccine have been allocated to states, but only 28 per cent of those doses have been administered so far.

The delays in administering the vaccine are leading to concerns that the vaccine could expire before it is given to patients. 

Four people involved with the nationwide vaccination efforts told The Daily Beast that senior officials believe states should begin handing out some of their excess COVID-19 vaccine doses to whoever wants it, ignoring the supposed order of priority.

Twenty four million doses of vaccine have been allocated to states, but only 28 per cent of those doses have been administered so far

Vaccine doses have been shipped out, but frustration is growing at the pace of inoculation

Vaccine doses have been shipped out, but frustration is growing at the pace of inoculation

'We need to make sure that the critically ill and most vulnerable people are getting this vaccine first,' one senior administration official told the site. 

'But after that if there are doses that are just sitting in fridges expiring, we got to get them out there.' 


Another added: 'If we have a big surge in cases and deaths after the December holidays and we don't have the vaccine distribution plan back on course we're in big trouble.' 

On Tuesday key players in the vaccination program met at Camp David to discuss how to proceed. 

Some argued that doses that may soon expire should be given to any individuals who want to get inoculated.  

There has been no formal decision to draft recommendations, officials told The Daily Beast, but they are not against states pursuing this course of action.

New York City residents wait outside a COVID testing site in Queens on January 3

New York City residents wait outside a COVID testing site in Queens on January 3

People in Los Angeles line up for testing at the Dodger Stadium on Monday

People in Los Angeles line up for testing at the Dodger Stadium on Monday

The Los Angeles site is one of the most in-demand for COVID tests, amid surging cases

The Los Angeles site is one of the most in-demand for COVID tests, amid surging cases

Some experts have told local officials that they should embrace the idea.  

Dr Anthony Fauci predicted on Tuesday that life in the United States could begin to return to 'some degree of normality' by early fall but only if COVID-19 vaccination rollout increases rapidly.

The nation's top infectious disease expert said that by fall, he hopes that 280 million people will have been vaccinated - the predicted number needed to reach herd immunity.

He added that if vaccinations begin at a stepped-up pace soon, the impact on new infections could even be seen by the spring, but predicts several more difficult weeks with post-holiday surges before this takes effect. 

It is unclear why there is a delay in vaccination.

Some blame logistics, others say there has been a lack of public health messaging and coordination. Others say the fault is with the federal government, for leaving too much to the states. 

Patients wait outside the Emergency Room as they are brought in by an ambulance and the fire department at the LAC USC Hospital ER in Los Angeles on Tuesday

Patients wait outside the Emergency Room as they are brought in by an ambulance and the fire department at the LAC USC Hospital ER in Los Angeles on Tuesday

The slow pace is frustrating health officials and a desperate public alike, with only about a third of the first supplies shipped to states used as of Tuesday morning, just over three weeks into the vaccination campaign.

'Any time you start a big program, there's always glitches. I think the glitches have been worked out,' Fauci told The Associated Press.

Vaccinations have already begun speeding up, reaching roughly half a million injections a day, he pointed out.

Now, with the holidays over, 'once you get rolling and get some momentum, I think we can achieve 1 million a day or even more,' Fauci said.

He called President-elect Joe Biden's goal of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days 'a very realistic, important, achievable goal.'

It's an optimistic prediction considering the logistical hurdles facing states and counties as they struggle to administer rationed vaccine supplies amid rising COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Fauci pointed to California's swamped hospitals and exhausted workers even before holiday travel and family gatherings added fuel to the outbreak. 

Amid mounting frustration over the slow vaccine rollout, governors and other politicians are talking tough and in some cases proposing to bend the rules to get people vaccinated more quickly.

Health care workers and nursing home patients are still getting priority in most places.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo threatened to fine hospitals that don't use their vaccine allotments fast enough, saying: 'Move it quickly. We´re serious.'

New York's mayor suggested vaccine eligibility be widened to get things moving. 

Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina said hospitals and health workers have until January 15 to get a shot or they will have to 'move to the back of the line.'

As of Monday, the state had given out less than half its initial allotment of the Pfizer vaccine to about 43,000 people.

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper called in the National Guard to help speed things up.

In California, where just 1 percent of the population has been vaccinated, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he wants to give providers the flexibility to dispense shots to people not on the priority list if doses are in danger of going to waste.

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