Over 10 million Americans have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Wednesday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The United States reached 10.2 million inoculations one day after the CDC and Trump administration gave new guidance to U.S. states on who should receive the shots first. Strict rules putting healthcare workers first in line had slowed the rollout. Now states are urged to vaccinate anyone over 65 as well.
California moved on Wednesday to do just that, designating all individuals 65 and older eligible to begin receiving vaccines, adding 6.6 million people to the rolls of those qualified to be immunized, Governor Gavin Newsom said.
The move bumps senior citizens, regardless of whether they have underlying medical conditions, to the top of the priority list for vaccine recipients, just behind front-line healthcare workers and residents and staff of nursing homes.
California, like many states, has struggled to use up as much vaccine as it received in initial allotments from the federal government, administering only about a third of the nearly 2.5 million doses shipped to the state as of Monday.
The state has set a goal of inoculating 1 million more Californians by the end of this week with the first shot of the two-dose vaccine.
He also said the state would launch a new system next week for notifying people when they become eligible for the vaccine, and to register for notification by email or text.
The latest push to spur the most ambitious mass immunization campaign in U.S. history came as the nation set a new record for coronavirus deaths in one day, with 4,336 fatalities on Tuesday.
Nearly 30 million doses of the vaccines, manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer with its German partner BioNTech, have been released to U.S. states, which have used only about one-third of them.
Johnson & Johnson said on Wednesday that the pharmaceutical company was on track to roll out its single-shot vaccine in March.
The company targets to deliver 1 billion doses of its vaccine by the end of this year as the company ramps up production.
Nationwide more than 380,000 people have died of COVID-19. A total of 22.7 million have been infected during that time.
The number of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization may have leveled off at least temporarily, although public health officials warned that further spread may still be seen from holiday gatherings.