White House warns the US can’t buy updated Covid-19 vaccines ‘for every American who wants one’ without more funding
“We’re in the middle of developing new vaccines, potentially bivalent vaccines, the FDA is going to be looking at the data on this and making decisions. Our expectation is that we’ll probably get a new generation of vaccines or certainly we need to plan for that,” Jha said Wednesday.
Jha continued, “I want to make sure we have enough resources that we can buy enough vaccines for every American who wants one. I think that is absolutely critical. We do not have the resources to do that right now. So, without additional funding from Congress, we will not be able to buy enough vaccines for every American who wants one, once these new generation of vaccines come out in the fall and winter.”
The Biden administration requested $22.5 billion in additional funding for US Covid response, but that bill faces an uncertain path forward in Congress.
There have been “preliminary conversations” with vaccine manufacturers, Jha said, but negotiations have not yet begun without the additional funding resources from Congress.
“Every day we wait, every week we wait, we just fall a little further behind in line,” Jha said, adding that the administration is “very committed” to finding resources from other programs to pay for at least some of these updated vaccines.
“I think if Congress abdicate its responsibilities, it is not acceptable for us in the administration to go into the fall and winter with zero vaccines. I am confident we will find money to be able to get some Americans vaccinated, maybe just the highest risk, we don’t know, but these are not decisions we want to be having to make. We want Congress to step up,” he said.
Rapid tests, Jha told reporters, are a “very effective way” to reduce the virus’ spread. Jha characterized the demand since Monday as “impressive,” although the 8 million households represents only a small fraction of total US households. When the White House announced the new round of tests earlier this week, it said 350 million free tests had been shipped to US households to date.
These tests were paid for by the Covid-19 relief bill passed by Congress last year.
Quoted from Various Sources
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