U.S. releases millions of COVID -19 vaccine doses

With vaccinations across the country off to a painfully slow start, the Trump administration on Tuesday announced sweeping changes.

The new measures include releasing millions of coronavirus vaccine doses held back for second shots and expanding the pool of people who eligible.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar: "We are telling states, they should open vaccinations to people 65 and over and all people under 65 with a co-morbidity."

Secretary Azar also said the administration would deploy teams to mass vaccination sites, should states request assistance.

Most states prioritized health-care workers and nursing home staff and residents for their first vaccine deliveries, which began last month. But the process has been slow due partly to the complexity of giving vaccines to these groups.

And last week, the CDC made clear states can move on to the next priority group - people 75 and older and essential workers - without finishing that first round of inoculations, but fewer than 20 states have done so.

California this week will turn the Disneyland theme park known as the "happiest place on earth" -- into a massive Covid-19 vaccination site.

And in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis, who has prioritized inoculating those 65 and older from the start -- unveiled a new vaccination effort at The Villages, a sprawling retirement community.

"This site here is going to be able to handle between 800 and 1,000 vaccines a day."

As of Monday, nearly 9 million Americans had been given their first COVID-19 vaccination dose far fewer than the 25 million total doses distributed to states by the U.S. government.

The vaccinations have yet to make a dent in the health crisis as the pandemic claimed on average about 3,200 lives nationwide each day over the last week.

Video Transcript

- With vaccinations across the country off to painfully slow start, the Trump administration on Tuesday announced sweeping changes.

ALEX AZAR: The next phase has several components.

- The new measures include releasing millions of coronavirus vaccine doses held back for second shots and expanding the pool of people who are eligible. US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

ALEX AZAR: We are telling states they should open vaccinations to all people over age [? 60-- ?] 65 and over and all people under age 65 with a co-morbidity with some form of medical documentation as defined by governors.

- Secretary Azar also said the administration would deploy teams to mass vaccination sites, should states request assistance. Most states prioritized health care workers and nursing home staff and residents for their first vaccine deliveries, which began last month. And last week, the CDC made clear states can move on to the next priority group, people 75 and older and essential workers, without finishing that first round of inoculations, but fewer than 20 states have done so. California this week will turn the Disneyland theme park known as "the happiest place on Earth" into a massive Covid-19 vaccination site. And in Florida--

RON DESANTIS: This site here--

- --Govenor Ron DeSantis, who has prioritized inoculating those 65 and older from the start, unveiled a new vaccination effort at The Villages, a sprawling retirement community.

RON DESANTIS: --is going to be able to handle between 800 and [? 1,000 ?] vaccines a day.

- As of Monday, nearly 9 million Americans had been given their first dose, far fewer than the 25 million total doses distributed to states by the US government. The vaccinations have yet to make a dent in the health crisis, as the pandemic claimed on average about 3,200 lives nationwide each day over the last week.