New Administration to Mount National Vaccination Effort

Posted on 01/16/21

Aggressive Plan to Administer 100 Million Shots in Administration's First 100 Days

President-elect Joe Biden has called on Congress to enact an emergency relief package to fund a national COVID-19 vaccination program as part of a sweeping response to the coronavirus and economic crises.

“We must act now and act decisively,” Biden said in an address to the nation Thursday night from Wilmington, Delaware. “The decisions we make in the next few weeks and months will determine whether we thrive in a way that benefits all Americans,” he said. Biden’s transition team released a 19-page document that details how he would allocate the federal dollars.

The national vaccination plan, Biden said, will help meet his goal of administering 100 million shots during his first 100 days. It will be “one of the most challenging operational efforts we have ever undertaken as a nation,” he said.

“There is tremendous demand for vaccines, and this is the most important task facing the new administration,” says Bill Sweeney, AARP senior vice president for government affairs. “We are pleased this proposal includes a new focus and necessary funding to improve vaccine distribution and steps to protect long-term care residents and staff who have been devastated by this pandemic.” Sweeney also said AARP was glad to see that the plan includes economic stimulus payments, nutrition-assistance funding, paid sick and family leave, and aid to state and local governments.

Get more Americans vaccinated
“Things will get worse before they get better,” Biden said Friday as he talked about the specifics of his vaccine plan from Wilmington. But, he said, “I’m convinced we can get it done. This is a time to set big goal,” he added, because the health of the nation is literally at stake.”

The national vaccine plan includes:

  • $20 billion for community vaccination centers, mobile vaccination units and money to help states inoculate all Medicaid enrollees. Biden says he’ll enlist the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to immediately begin establishing 100 community vaccination centers across the country, using school gymnasiums, sports stadiums and community centers. And, he said, he will make sure some of these sites are located in communities hardest hit by the pandemic, such as African American and Latino communities, and in rural areas. He will also enlist independent and chain pharmacies to vaccinate more Americans.
  • Expanding the number of people available to administer the vaccine. This includes retired health care workers, military medical personnel, National Guard members and nonclinical personnel who will be trained to give people the vaccine shots. The plan also provides funding for 100,000 more public health workers to assist in the vaccine program and coronavirus contact tracing
  • Using the Defense Production Act to accelerate the manufacture of both the vaccines and the materials needed to administer them — from syringes to protective equipment. Biden did not specify how many more doses of the vaccine would become available. He did promise to make sure state and local officials know how many vaccine doses they will be getting and when.
  • Maintaining the two-dose schedule for both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
  • $50 billion to scale up testing and expand lab capacity
  • $30 billion for personal protective equipment, testing and vaccine supplies and $10 billion to expand the manufacturing of needed supplies.

“We're going to turn away from the state-by-state crazy quilt approach and have a national direction,” says William Schaffner, epidemiologist and professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University. “That makes sense.”

AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy A. LeaMond issued the following statement in response to President-elect Biden’s proposal to combat COVID-19 and provide economic relief:

“For months, AARP has called for action to improve the health and economic security of older Americans and all Americans. There is tremendous demand for vaccines, and this is the most important task facing the new Administration. We are pleased this proposal includes a new focus and necessary funding to improve vaccine distribution and steps to protect long-term care residents and staff who have been devastated by this pandemic. We are also pleased to see several key measures, including economic stimulus payments, additional funds for nutrition assistance, paid sick and family leave to keep families healthy, and aid to state and local governments. AARP urges quick action on these policies to help our nation get past this deadly pandemic.”

You can access President-elect Biden’s Fact Sheet on his COVID-19 Vaccination Plan here.

This story is provided by AARP West Virginia. Visit the AARP West Virginia page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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