Feds Authorize $3 Billion to Boost Vaccine Rollout

January 11, 2021 – The CDC will send $ 3 billion to states to bolster a late national COVID-19 immunization program.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced the new funding since only 30% of the more than 22 million doses of vaccine distributed in the United States were injected into the arms of Americans.

In addition to the $ 3 billion, HHS said an additional $ 19 billion would be directed to states and jurisdictions to boost COVID testing programs. How much each state will receive will be determined by the population.

The news comes days after President-elect Joe Biden said he planned to release all available vaccine doses after he took office on January 20. The Trump administration has withheld millions of doses to secure the vaccine supply to provide the second dose needed. for those who received the first blow.

“This funding is another timely investment that will strengthen our nation’s efforts to stop the COVID-19 pandemic in America,” CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, said in a statement. “Particularly now, it is crucial that states and communities have the resources they need to perform testing, as well as to distribute and administer safe, high-quality COVID-19 vaccines in a safe and equitable manner.”

Federal officials and public health experts, however, expressed concerns over the weekend over Biden’s plan.

Outgoing Trump administration officials and others have said they fear this will leave providers without enough second doses for people receiving the two-dose vaccines.

If Biden releases all available doses and there is a problem with the vaccine manufacturing process, they said, it could pose a supply risk.

“We have a product that currently goes through QC – quality control – for sterility, identity control that we have tens and tens of millions of products. We always will. But the prizes fail. The infertility fails… and then you don’t have a product for that second dose, ”Alex Azar, secretary of health and human services, told the American Hospital Association, according to CNN on Friday.

“And frankly, talking about it or encouraging it can really undermine a critical public health need for people to come back for their second vaccine,” he said.

One of the main obstacles to the deployment of the vaccine has been the administration of the doses already distributed. The United States has shipped 22.1 million doses and 6.6 million initial injections have been given, according to the latest CDC data updated on Friday. Azar and other federal health officials urged states to use their current supply and expand access to vaccines to more priority groups.

“We would be delighted to hear that jurisdictions have actually administered far more doses than they are currently reporting,” a spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services told CNN. “We encourage jurisdictions to expand their priority groups as needed to ensure that no vaccine remains on the shelves after being delivered to jurisdictional-led locations.

Releasing more vaccines for the first doses could also create ethical concerns, as people who get vaccinated expect to receive a second dose within the appropriate timeframe, according to The week. Biden’s transition team said on Friday he would not delay the second dose, but instead planned to ramp up production to stay on track.

To do this well, the federal government should create a coordinated vaccine strategy that sets expectations for a 24-hour operation and helps state and local immunization programs achieve their goals, wrote Leana Wen, MD, professor at the George Washington University. an editorial for The Washington Post.

“The urgency of the Biden team in terms of immunization is commendable,” she added. in a Twitter message Monday morning. “I would like to see a guarantee that every 1st dose administered will be followed by a 2nd dose in a timely manner. Otherwise, there are ethical concerns that could add to the reluctance to vaccinate.

Biden has pledged 100 million doses will be given in his first 100 days in office. He has become frustrated as fears grow that his administration will keep its promises, according to Politico. Its coronavirus response team has noted several challenges, including what they say is a lack of long-term planning on the part of the Trump administration and an initial refusal to share key information.

“We’re discovering new information every day, and we’re digging up – of course – more work to do,” Vivek Murthy, MD, Biden’s candidate for surgeon general told Politico.

The team discovered staffing shortages, technology issues, and issues with health insurance coverage. The incoming Biden team has developed several initiatives, such as mobile vaccination units and new federal sites to give injections. It could take weeks for vaccine rollout to be on track, the outlet reported.

“Will it be difficult?” Absolutely, ”Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Biden’s new chief medical adviser on the coronavirus, told Politico. “This is an unprecedented effort to immunize the entire country over a period of time that fights people dying in record numbers. To say that this is not a challenge would be unrealistic. Do I think it can be done? Yes.”

WebMD Health News

Sources

CNN: “Exclusive: Biden will release almost any vaccine dose available in violation of the Trump administration’s policy of withholding stocks for the second dose.”

CDC: “COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States”.

The week: “Experts say they are concerned about Biden’s plan to release almost all available vaccine doses.”

The Washington Post: “Releasing more vaccines for the first few doses could create more problems than it solves.”

Twitter: @DrLeanaWen, January 11, 2021.

Politico: “Biden dresses his Covid team on plans to speed up vaccinations.”

Department of Health and Human Services: “HHS announces $ 22 billion in funding to support expansion of vaccine testing and distribution.”


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