White House cautions providers against holding back vaccine doses

White House Covid-19 senior adviser Andy Slavitt cautioned there is concern that providers, amid a lack of predictability about supply, are holding back available doses.

“We believe that some health care providers are regularly holding back doses that are intended as first doses, and instead keeping them in reserve for second doses for patients. We want to be clear that we understand why health care providers have done that, but that it does not need to happen, and should not happen,” Slavitt said at Monday’s virtual press briefing.

But Slavitt predicted the “efficiency of doses being administered will steadily improve.”

“On January 20, states had administered 46% of their inventory. Today, that number is 62%. We are focused on this every hour of every day,” he said.

Slavitt suggested that in some cases, patients’ appointments for a first dose are being canceled and pressed the urgency in getting first doses out as quickly as possible. He said the administration’s move last week to provide a three-week window into vaccine shipping plans was meant to allay concerns that second doses could get held up.

“With this action, states and vaccine providers will more rapidly use their first doses to vaccinate as many people as quickly and as equitably as possible, because they now have the predictability, that the second dose will be there when the time comes,” he said.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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