Selena Simmons-Duffin | KUNR

Selena Simmons-Duffin

Selena Simmons-Duffin reports on health policy for NPR.

She has worked at NPR for ten years as a show editor and producer, with one stopover at WAMU in 2017 as part of a staff exchange. For four months, she reported local Washington, DC, health stories, including a secretive maternity ward closure and a gesundheit machine.

Before coming to All Things Considered in 2016, Simmons-Duffin spent six years on Morning Edition working shifts at all hours and directing the show. She also drove the full length of the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014 for the "Borderland" series.

She won a Gracie Award in 2015 for creating a video called "Talking While Female," and a 2014 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award for producing a series on why you should love your microbes.

Simmons-Duffin attended Stanford University, where she majored in English. She took time off from college to do HIV/AIDS-related work in East Africa. She started out in radio at Stanford's radio station, KZSU, and went on to study documentary radio at the Salt Institute, before coming to NPR as an intern in 2009.

She lives in Washington, DC, with her spouse and kids.

The scramble to secure a COVID-19 vaccine appointment is chaotic and fierce. There are not yet enough doses for everyone who's eligible and wants to get vaccinated. As frustration rises, the federal government hasn't offered much besides assurances that things will get better and appeals for calm.

The COVID-19 vaccines are here, but if it's your turn to get vaccinated, how are you supposed to sign up?

The answers vary by place, so NPR created a tool to help you understand how things work in your state and connect you with local resources. And we're sharing guiding principles and advice for navigating the process below.

Search for your state below. (There are a few large cities with their own immunization plans that you'll find on our list as well.)

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It is the first full day of the Biden administration, and the president says there is going to be a new approach to the pandemic. He did acknowledge there may still be many challenges ahead.

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More now on President-elect Biden's plans to try to speed up vaccines in the U.S. It boils down to more shots and less red tape. Mr. Biden made those promises yesterday. But tackling the coronavirus will take time, money and a lot of work.

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One hundred million COVID-19 vaccinations in 100 days - that is President-elect Biden's goal as soon as he gets sworn in next week.

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President-elect Biden laid out his plan tonight to deal with the pandemic, what he called a crisis of deep human suffering. It is his top priority when he takes office next week. The plan has a huge price tag - $1.9 trillion.

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If you're 65 years or older, the Trump administration now says you should be eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine right away. It's one of several changes announced today. And NPR's Selena Simmons-Duffin has more on this.

Updated 2:20 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is making several big changes to its COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy, officials announced Tuesday, in a bid to jump-start the rollout and get more Americans vaccinated quickly.

The first change is to call on states to expand immediately the pool of people eligible to receive vaccines to those 65 and older, and those with underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

President-elect Joe Biden is planning to take a dramatic step aimed at increasing the amount of vaccine available to states.

His transition team says he'll change a Trump administration policy that kept millions of doses in reserve, only to be shipped when it was time to administer people's second doses.

This time last year, the world was heading into a pandemic that would upend everything and cost 1.9 million lives — and counting. The promise of the new year is that vaccines are finally here and offer a way out.

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It's an incredibly difficult time to be a contact tracer in the United States. Just imagine having to call up a stranger a few days before Christmas to tell them they've been exposed to COVID-19 and need to quarantine for 14 days.

For public health workers tasked with making contact tracing calls, "these are very challenging conversations at any time, but the longer the pandemic continues, especially around the holidays, it's difficult to ask folks to quarantine," says Lindsey Mauldin, who oversees Pennsylvania's contact tracing program.

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An important federal advisory committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added its vote of support for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

In an emergency meeting Saturday, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend the first COVID-19 vaccine for use for people 16 or older in the U.S, expressing hope that the vaccine would help curb the spread of the disease that has killed more than 295,000 people in the U.S.

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And I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington, where the transition has officially begun. Last night, the General Services Administration at last acknowledged Joe Biden's win, paving the way for the new Biden administration.

More than 1,000 hospitals across the United States are "critically" short on staff, according to numbers released this week by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Those hospitals, which span all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, represent about 18% of all hospitals that report their staffing status to HHS. And that number is expected to grow: 21% of all hospitals reporting say they anticipate having critical staffing shortages in the next week.

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