In a follow-up to his address to the nation Thursday night detailing his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his national coronavirus vaccine distribution plan Friday. The basic premise of the plan — which nearly doubles the nation’s current investment to $20 billion – emphasizes opening up eligibility to more Americans, creating more vaccination sites, and increasing the supply and distribution of vaccines, which have currently been experiencing scattered shortages across the nation.
“Our plan is as clear as it is bold,” Biden said in an address to the nation Friday afternoon. “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.”
In a fact sheet distributed to media outlets, Biden’s team outlined a plan that includes:
- Mobilizing more personnel to support vaccine education and distribution
- Launching a public education campaign to address and assure people that are unsure whether or not they should take the vaccine
- Ensuring equitable access to the vaccine, regardless of geography or demographics
- Building community vaccination centers and launch mobile vaccination clinics across the nation, staffed by retired doctors and nurses to administer vaccines to teachers, grocery store workers, people over 65 years old and other at-risk groups that are not currently in the first wave of Americans scheduled to receive the vaccine, according to CDC guidelines
- Creating partnerships to help distribute vaccinations to urban, rural, and isolated communities
- Increasing vaccine capacity at pharmacies using the Defense Production Act to maximize the production line
- Increasing data sharing and timelines to state and local governments so they can better execute a vaccination plan
“The more people we vaccinate and the faster we do it, the sooner we can put this pandemic behind us and build our economy back better and get back to our lives and our loved ones,” Biden said.
Currently, Biden has said that the vaccine distribution plan under the Trump administration has been a “dismal failure,” citing dosages that have been thrown away past the expiration date, and the quickly dwindling vaccination goals of President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed from 300 million doses by January to 10% of that original goal. According to data from The New York Times, currently, 31.2 million vaccine doses have been distributed nationwide.
Biden has previously stated, according to CNN, that he plans to release most of the available vaccine doses all at once, despite the fact that people need to take two doses for optimal effectiveness. The Trump administration’s plan has been to hold back vaccines for the second dosage.
This $20 billion vaccination rollout proposal is part of a larger $415 billion emergency spending bill that help fight COVID-19. The President-elect initially unveiled this $415 billion plan Thursday night as part of his proposed, broader $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, as we previously reported, would include $1,400 stimulus checks for most Americans, an extension of unemployment benefits, $15 minimum wage, and a grant program for business owners.
Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi