March 25, 2021 – Several states open up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults next week, with more states to follow in April.
At least 5 states – Alaska, Arizona, Mississippi, Utah, and West Virginia – have already expanded their vaccine categories to include anyone aged 16 and over, with or without underlying conditions . At least 20 more states plan to open up to 16 and over by the end of next month, according to to CNN.
Georgia will open eligibility for 16 and over on Thursday, followed by Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio and North Dakota on Monday and Indiana on Wednesday. Here’s the schedule for April and early May, CNN reported:
- April 1: Montana
- April 5: Connecticut, Michigan, Tennessee
- April 9: Missouri
- April 12: Illinois
- April 19: Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island
- April 26: Idaho
- April 27: Maryland
- April (no fixed date): New Mexico, Virginia, Iowa
- May 1: Wisconsin, Oregon, South Dakota
- May 3: South Carolina
- May or later: California, Nebraska, Kansas, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Delaware
President Joe Biden has ordered states to open vaccination to all adults by May 1, and more than 40 states have said they will meet that target, according to to the New York Times. The FDA has cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those aged 16 and over and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for those aged 18 and over.
About 2.5 million doses are administered across the country each day, the newspaper reported. The United States has shipped 169 million doses and 85.4 million people have received at least one dose, according to the last CDC count updated Wednesday. More than 46.3 million people, or 14% of the population, have been fully immunized.
“With the growing supply of vaccines from the federal government and the efficiency with which our vaccine suppliers are being shot, we have been able to accelerate our deployment,” Maura Fitzgerald, spokesperson for the Department of Health, told CNN. Connecticut Public.
Variations in state eligibility likely differ based on differences between states in supply and demand, Marcus Plescia, MD, chief medical officer of the Association of State and State Health Officials, told CNN. territories. Southeastern states, for example, have not had such a high demand for vaccines and could open categories faster.
“The few states that I’m aware of have fully opened up – it seems to be more rural states, and I think they’ve gone through their different priority groups and probably made the transition as they started to see demand drop, ”he said. .
As vaccine supply grows as well, more states will expand eligibility in the coming weeks, Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told CNN.
“The reason for prioritizing in the first place was because we knew the supply would be insufficient at first, and then, of course, there was a desire to tackle health inequalities – those two things, to some extent led to the prioritization, ”he added. he said. “Ultimately, the goal is to
As states vaccinate more categories, governors are also starting to lift COVID-19 safety protocols. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Tuesday announced he would lift the statewide mask mandate and trade restrictions in two weeks, according to to the Associated Press.
Holcomb said the drop in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths in Indiana, along with a growing number of fully vaccinated people, led him to decide to lift the restrictions on April 6. Local authorities will still have the power to impose restrictions based on COVID. 19 cases in the community, and face masks will still be needed in schools.
Although Holcomb has said he hopes Indiana will see “the end of the pandemic,” he also encouraged people to wear masks in public and said bars and restaurants should always space out tables.
“When I visit my favorite restaurants or run a public event, I will continue to wear a mask appropriately,” he said. “That’s what you should do.”