The incoming president’s advisors had previously hinted that he would invoke the wartime production law, which allows the president to compel companies to prioritize manufacturing for national security, to bolster vaccine production.
“The policy changes that we’re going to be making are going to take time to show up in the Covid statistics. It’s not just statistics, it’s people’s lives,” Biden said Friday.
The plan says the act will increase the supply of necessary equipment that could otherwise cause bottlenecks in the vaccine’s rollout if they were in shortage, including glass vials, syringes, stoppers and needles. It will also increase the capacity to package the vaccines into vials.
By the end of the first month in office, the administration plans to have 100 federally-supported centers across the nation that will ultimately vaccinate millions of people. “And as governors of both parties have asked, our administration will reimburse states 100 percent when “heir National Guard is deployed in the fight against COVID-19,” the transition team wrote.
Biden’s plan will also encourage states to open up eligibility beyond health-care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff, and include frontline essential workers like teachers, first responders, grocery store employees and anyone who is 65 and older.
The CDC on Tuesday issued new guidelines that expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility to everyone age 65 and older as well as to those with comorbid conditions, like diabetes. Some 53 million Americans who are 65 and older and 110 million people between 16 and 64 with comorbid conditions are now eligible to receive the vaccine if every state adopts the guidelines, according to the CDC.
“It won’t mean that everyone in these groups will get vaccinated immediately, as supply is not where it needs to be,” the transition team wrote. “But it will mean that as vaccines become available, they will reach more people who need them.”
Biden said the administration also plans to launch a public information campaign to “rebuild that trust” as some polls suggest Americans are skeptical about getting a Covid-19 vaccine.
“We’ll help people understand what science tell us. That the vaccines help reduce the risk of Covid infections and can better safeguard our health and the health of our families and our communities,” the president-elect said.
“Our plan is as clear as it is bold,’ he added. Get more people vaccinated for free, create more places for them to get vaccinated, mobilize more medical teams to get the shots in people’s arms, increase supply and get it out the door as soon as possible. This will be one of the most challenging operation efforts ever undertaken by our country, but you have my word. We will manage the hell out of this operation.”
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