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U.S. to start distributing coronavirus vaccines directly to pharmacies

The Biden administration has said a key metric in its first 100 days will be administering 100 million coronavirus vaccine shots. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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The Biden administration said Tuesday it will start distributing limited supplies of vaccines directly to retail pharmacies beginning Feb. 11, in effort to make it faster and easier for people to get inoculated. These doses are separate from those allocated to states.

Jeff Zients, Biden’s coronavirus coordinator, cautioned that supply constraints will limit the early availability of shots in drugstores. He said the administration wanted to target supplies to pharmacies serving “socially vulnerable communities.”

Here are some significant developments:

  • Biotech company Moderna says it is proposing to fill vials with additional doses of coronavirus vaccine — up to 15 doses vs. the current 10 doses — in an effort to address manufacturing bottlenecks and allow for more production.
  • A Russian coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, was 92 percent effective at preventing symptomatic illness in a large clinical trial, robust protection that puts it in line with top vaccines developed in the United States and Europe, according to results published in a peer-reviewed journal Tuesday.
  • Race and ethnicity data were missing for nearly half of all coronavirus vaccine recipients during the first month shots were available, further stymieing efforts to ensure an equitable response to the pandemic, federal researchers reported Monday.
  • Responding to coronavirus variants, the United States is emphasizing masks and vaccines instead of lockdowns, in a contrast with Europe.
  • Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert, was hesitant Tuesday to say when life in the United States will return to pre-pandemic norms, citing coronavirus mutations and vaccine hesitancy.