President-elect Joe Biden on Friday outlined a plan to administer Covid-19 vaccines to the US population that includes opening up eligibility to get more people vaccinated, creating more vaccination sites and taking measures to increase the supply and distribution of the vaccines, according to a fact sheet provided by his transition team.
His plan includes mobilizing more personnel to support the vaccination effort, launching a public education campaign to address those hesitant to take the vaccine and focuses on ensuring equitable access to the vaccine across the country.
“The process of establishing priority groups was driven by science, but the implementation has been too rigid and confusing. We now see doses of vaccines sitting in freezers unused while people who want the vaccine cannot get it,” the fact sheet reads.
It continues: “President-elect Biden’s plan encourages states to open up eligibility beyond healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents and staff, to include frontline essential workers like teachers, first responders, grocery store employees, and anyone who is 65 and older.”
Health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are the first in line for the coronavirus vaccines, as recommended by vaccine advisers to the CDC. Next in line are older adults, ages 75 and older, and “frontline essential workers,” including first responders, the advisers recommended.
The President-elect will use federal funds to create new community vaccination centers across the country and launch mobile vaccination clinics and provider partnerships to reach under-served urban areas and rural communities.
His plan will make vaccines available in pharmacies and increase the capacity at chain and independent pharmacies across the nation. As Biden has pledged in the past, he will use the Defense Production Act to maximize the manufacturing of the vaccine and increase the supply.
“President-elect Biden’s plan will release the vast majority of the vaccines when they are available, so more people can get vaccinated quickly, while still retaining a small reserve for any unforeseen shortages or delays,” the fact sheet reads.
Biden will aim to release nearly every available dose of the coronavirus vaccine when he takes office, CNN previously reported. The Trump administration’s strategy originally was to hold back half of US vaccine production to ensure second doses are available, but it has since reversed course and said it would distribute reserved second doses immediately, effectively adopting Biden’s approach after disparaging it.
Biden’s plan will increase the public health workforce to support the vaccination effort, which includes allowing for additional professionals to administer vaccines and encouraging states to expand the scope of practice laws and waive licensing requirements where appropriate. The President-elect will also mobilize a public health jobs program to support the response to the pandemic.
The President-elect’s plan would reimburse state deployments of the National Guard to support vaccinations, and would provide a cost match for state and local emergency costs through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Biden has said his first priority when he takes office next week is to vaccinate Americans against the virus as the pandemic continues to devastate the nation. The President-elect has pledged to administer 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots, enough to cover 50 million Americans with the vaccines that require two doses, in his first 100 days in office.
The President-elect on Thursday outlined a $1.9 trillion emergency legislative package to fund his nationwide vaccination effort and provide direct economic relief to Americans who are struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The American Rescue Plan calls for investing $20 billion in a national vaccination program, including launching community vaccination centers around the country and mobile units in difficult-to-reach areas. It would also increase federal support to vaccinate Medicaid enrollees.
The proposal also includes $1,400 stimulus checks, more aid for the unemployed, those facing food shortages and those facing eviction. It includes more money for child care and child tax credits, additional support for small businesses, state and local governments, and increased funding for vaccinations and testing.
The President-elect on Thursday did not detail how he plans to move this massive proposal through Congress, in which Democrats will have narrow House and Senate majorities, but both congressional Democratic leaders voiced support for the proposal and pledged to help turn it into law.
Biden’s presidential transition team on Friday announced that Dr. David Kessler, a former head of the US Food and Drug Administration, would lead federal Covid-19 vaccine efforts for the incoming administration. Kessler will help lead Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s vaccine program that began under President Donald Trump, to speed up vaccine development and distribution.
The current Operation Warp Speed team under Trump has also encouraged states to broaden their vaccination guidelines beyond what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended. Only about 40% of doses of vaccine distributed have made it into people’s arms, according to the latest CDC data released Friday.
More than 390,600 Americans have died from the virus as of Friday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University. On Friday, the CDC reported 31 million doses of vaccine have been distributed and 12 million doses have been given to people.
The President-elect has received both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, and was administered both shots live on camera while reassuring the American public of its safety. He received the second dose earlier this week.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has received the first dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, and also did so on camera.
Biden outlines plan to administer Covid-19 vaccines The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ CNN.