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As states prepare to begin vaccinating the general public in the coming weeks and months, the White House is taking steps to make sure there are enough workers to administer the shots.
States’ coronavirus vaccination efforts were initially hampered by the lack of vaccine supply.
But as production has increased and states prepare for rising demand as the vaccine is made available to the general public, federal officials want to make sure they don’t fall short in another area: vaccinators.
To ensure enough medical professionals are available to get shots in the arms of millions of Americans, the Biden administration announced new steps it is taking this month to recruit more people to administer the vaccine.
Biden issued an order authorizing additional health professionals such as dentists, emergency medical technicians, veterinarians, midwives and physicians’ assistants to dispense and administer coronavirus vaccines anywhere in the United States. The order will also allow retired health professionals, such as pharmacists, to administer vaccines.
“As vaccine supply ramps up, we want to be sure communities have the help they need to get shots into arms for anyone in the U.S. who wants to be vaccinated,” said Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran.
Pharmacies have also been on a hiring spree to bring on more workers who can not only administer shots, but also handle other administrative tasks associated with the increased workload.
The pace of vaccinations in the United States has increased dramatically since Covid-19 vaccines were first made available in December. More than 109 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered across the United States, with approximately 38 million people fully vaccinated (two of the three currently available vaccines require two doses), according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Biden has promised that manufacturing levels would support enough vaccine doses for every adult in the U.S. by the end of May and states have been advised that they could expect a 50% increase in dose shipments in early April, according to The Washington Post.
States have opened mass vaccine sites, capable of administering thousands of doses a day, and the federal government announced the expansion of federal vaccination efforts through partnerships with pharmacies and community health centers and the expansion of its own large-scale vaccine sites.
To help facilitate vaccinator recruitment, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also launched a web portal that helps eligible health professionals sign up to become vaccinators in their state. Newly eligible vaccinators are required to meet certain training requirements before participating.
Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.