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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Trump administration is set to deliver new guidelines today that will get coronavirus vaccinations moving much faster.

Driving the news: New federal guidelines will recommend opening up the process to everyone older than 65, and will also aim to move doses out the door rather than holding some back.

Why it matters: The early phases of the vaccination effort were designed to put the highest-risk people at the front of the line, but the pace of inoculations has frustrated experts and everyday Americans alike.

  • The administration’s new guidelines aim to speed things up and ultimately move the U.S. closer to the widespread immunity that will put the pandemic behind us.

Details: The federal government is making three big changes, according to a senior administration official:

  • Recommending that states open the vaccination process to everyone older than 65 and to adults of all ages who have a pre-existing condition that puts them at greater risk for serious infection.
  • Expanding the venues where people can get vaccinated to include community health centers and more pharmacies.
  • Getting all the available doses out the door now. Both of the authorized vaccines require two shots; the government will no longer hold back doses for the second shot, but will instead try to get today’s doses into people’s arms now, trusting that supplies will increase rapidly enough to provide second shots.

These changes reflect a changing consensus about how best to distribute the vaccines — shifting away from a strict risk-based prioritization system, toward prioritizing getting as many shots into as many arms as possible, as quickly as possible.

  • Opening the doors to all seniors and high-risk patients mirrors steps some states have already taken, with public health experts’ encouragement, and President-elect Joe Biden has said his administration would not hold back doses for people’s second shots.

What we’re watching: There’s certainly no guarantee that this wider process will move smoothly, and there can be real costs to a sloppy rollout.

  • Some states and counties that already opened vaccinations to large numbers of people have struggled to get appointments made in any orderly fashion, sometimes leaving elderly, high-risk people to camp out for vaccines.

Yes, but: Increasing supplies should make every step of this more liberalized process — with more distribution points and wider eligibility — easier to manage.

Go deeper

Updated 20 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

Updated 15 hours ago - World

Portugal president wins second term, but far-right gains as COVID cases spike

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at a polling station in Celorico de Basto, Portugal, on Sunday. The election took place with strict social distancing rules and other coronavirus precuatins in effect. Photo: Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Portugal's center-right President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said after being re-elected with 61% of the vote for a second term Sunday his priority will be to "combat the pandemic," per Reuters.

Why it matters: Portugal is currently on lockdown with the highest seven-day COVID-19 average per 100,000 and some of the highest death rates in the world, according to Johns Hopkins.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
31 mins ago - Economy & Business

Scoop: Red Sox strike out on deal to go public

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The parent company of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. has ended talks to sell a minority ownership stake to RedBall Acquisition, a SPAC formed by longtime baseball executive Billy Beane and investor Gerry Cardinale, Axios has learned from multiple sources. An alternative investment, structured more like private equity, remains possible.

Why it matters: Red Sox fans won't be able to buy stock in the team any time soon.

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