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COVID-19: Vaccine Eligibility Expands; Janssen Vaccine Remains Paused

Nearly 40 percent of the total United States population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 25.7 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported April 19.

As of April 19, every person in the U.S. age 16 and older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, announced Friday at a White House briefing. Additionally, Walensky announced a new federally run mass vaccination site in Bessemer, Ala., with the capacity to administer 7,000 shots per day. This new site makes for a total of 37 mass vaccination facilities across 26 states, with a combined capacity of 125,000 shots administered per day.

Funding for Genomic Sequencing

Meanwhile, Andy Slavitt, White House senior advisor for the COVID-19 Response Team, announced $1.7 billion in funding for CDC, as well as state and local public health departments, to use genomic sequencing to monitor and fight emerging public health threats, including COVID-19 variants. An additional $300 million will be used to establish six Centers of Excellence in Genomic Epidemiology— partnerships between state health departments and academic institutions.

$4B Indian Health Service Investment

The Biden administration will use $4 billion of American Rescue Plan funding to invest in Indian Health Service tribal and urban Indian health programs, with a focus on expanding:

  • COVID-19 vaccinations, including through mobile efforts, large-scale vaccination events, and public education and outreach campaigns;
  • testing, contact tracing, personal protective equipment access, and treatment;
  • preventive health services for those at high risk for COVID-19; and
  • support for telehealth, the health care workforce, and the broader Indian health care system.

ACIP to Discuss Janssen Vaccine Safety

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met April 16 to discuss the safety of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine. CDC and the Food and Drug Administration last week paused use of the Janssen vaccine due to six reports of rare blood clots and low platelet counts. The committee decided to continue holding the vaccine amid ongoing investigations. ACIP will reconvene in an April 23 emergency meeting, from 11 am to 5 pm ET.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Emily Schweich is a senior communications associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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