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Cool boxes being transported to a plane as Brussels International Airport shows off its vaccine hub last week. Photo: Johanna Gero/Reuters

The federal government plans to stagger shipments of coronavirus vaccines to help ensure that states don't run out of supplies, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's current plans would make 35 million to 40 million COVID vaccine doses available — instead of the 300 million doses originally promised. The "lower-than-anticipated allocations have caused widespread confusion and concern in states," the Post reports.

  • Local and state officials are rushing to change vaccination plans.
  • The number of vaccines available could pick up in January and February but will still be lower than the administration originally projected.

Pfizer and BioNTech have halved their original estimates of how many of their coronavirus vaccines would be shipped globally by the end of this year, citing supply-chain issues, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

The big picture: The global race to develop a COVID vaccine has been one of the fastest in history, as it usually takes more than 10 years for a vaccine to reach regulatory approval after its discovery.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.