Surgeon General Jerome Adams is urging states not to let government guidelines on who should receive doses of COVID-19 vaccines first hold up the pace of vaccinations.
Adams’ comments come as the U.S. the pace of vaccinations for the virus has been much slower than initially anticipated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidelines for the order in which different groups should receive their first dose of the vaccine. According to the agency, healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents should be the first ones to receive vaccine shots.
However, Adams told NBC’s “Today” that states should not let the government’s guidelines hold up vaccinations for lower priority groups if there is not demand in the higher priority groups.
“Your headline today really should be, ‘Surgeon General tells states and governors to move quickly to other priority groups,'” Adams said, adding, “If the demand isn’t there in 1a, go to 1b, and continue on down. And if the demand isn’t there in one location, move those vaccines to another location.”
Watch the video below:
The “1b” group includes “frontline essential workers” and Americans who are age 75 and older. And “1c” includes Americans ages 65-74 as well as those with underlying health conditions between 16 and 74.
“Many folks, and I’ve been to states all across the country, feel beholden to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices guidelines to vaccinate everyone in group 1a before they move to 1b, and beyond,” Adams said.
He reiterated, “And what I want people to know is, these are guidelines, but we’ve been telling these states since September that we need to make sure we’re prioritizing getting everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible.”