WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden announced the U.S. will begin reallocating the number of coronavirus shots given to states, moving doses from states with lower demand to those with a higher interest in vaccines.
The change away from a strict by-population allocation comes as demand for the coronavirus vaccines has dropped nationwide, but especially precipitously in some areas, with some states turning down part or all of their weekly dose allotments. The federal government will now shift some of those doses to areas with higher demand, to speed shots in those areas.
The President also rolled out a new website to help people find vaccine appointments: vaccines.gov.
The average number of doses given per day fell 27% from a high of 3.26 million on April 11 to 2.37 million last Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Individual states have made similar shifts internally to account for changing demand. Last week, Washington state changed the way it allocates coronavirus vaccine to its counties. Previously the state doled out supplies to counties proportionate to their populations. But Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday that the amounts now will be based on requests from health care providers.
Biden is also expected to announce the new goal of administering at least one vaccine shot to 70% of American adults by July 4. The president has previously used July 4 as an indicator when the U.S. will be “closer to normal.”
“By July the Fourth there’s a good chance your families and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day,” Biden said in a prime time address to the nation.
Governors were informed of the changes by the White House Tuesday morning.
The restrictions rollback come as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for young adults age 12 and older by next week, a notable step in returning to normalcy. Currently, Americans older than 16 are approved for the shot.
However, with more contagious variants taking hold, efforts are underway to boost vaccinations, which have begun to lag.
About 105.5 million people, or 31.8% of the U.S. population, have been fully inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer Inc/ BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson, according to CDC data. 44.4% of the U.S. population, or 147.5 million adults had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
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