Since mid-February, the average number of Americans vaccinated each day has risen by more than one million, lifting the rate from just under 1.5 million to more than 2.5 million daily and pushing the total number of doses administered to well over 100 million, according to the CDC.

The quickened pace of vaccinations has rapidly increased the percentage of American adults who have received at least one shot, which now exceeds 30%. Nearly 15% are fully vaccinated.

The numbers are even better among those over age 65 years, the age group at highest risk from SARS-CoV-2 infections. More than two-thirds had been at least partially vaccinated by March 18, and almost 40% were fully vaccinated.

Children under age 16 years are still not eligible to receive any of the vaccines, but clinical trials underway should make shots available for many teenagers by fall. Authorization for the youngest children will likely not come until early 2022, as vaccine manufacturers have announced that they will be gradually lower the age of children included in trials throughout 2021.

With more than 400 additional vaccine doses expected over the next 2 months, states are opening up eligibility criteria to broader segments of the adult population. Many states have committed to opening vaccine eligibility to everyone aged 16 years and older by May 1, as President Biden recently encouraged, and some have moved even faster, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported. Pharmacists should stay informed of the current eligibility criteria in their state as the rules are changing quickly.

Alaska and Mississippi have already made vaccines available to everyone aged 16 years or older, and Ohio and Utah will join them before the end of March. In the first week of April, Montana, Connecticut, Iowa, Michigan, and Nevada will fully open eligibility, and Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky will follow the next week. The governors of Massachusetts and Rhode Island have announced an April 19 date to make vaccines available to everyone over age 15 years. Idaho and Maryland will open up the week of April 26.

In the meantime, many states are lowering the age of eligibility in stages and adopting a variety of criteria for younger people with high-risk conditions. Anyone aged 40 years or older can get a vaccine in Ohio, as can those over age 45 years in Indiana and individuals over age 50 years in Delaware, Ohio, West Virginia, Utah, Wyoming, and Texas. Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, and South Carolina have dropped the eligibility age to 55. Only New Mexico currently restricts access to individuals aged 75 years and older.

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

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