White House Shifts Pandemic Money to Vaccines
This is forcing it to cut other program assistance
The Biden administration is shifting dwindling federal coronavirus (COVID-19) funds toward securing another round of vaccines and treatments — rationing money and cutting back on other critical public health programs as Congress remains at odds over whether to spend more to battle the pandemic.
The U.S. government plans to redirect about $5 billion in existing funds so it can purchase any new, updated version of the vaccine if it becomes available, according to an administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the deliberations. The government also intends to repurpose another $5 billion in previously authorized aid so it can secure access to therapeutics, including the pill Paxlovid, the aide said.
Without the change in approach, White House officials fear that the United States would not be able to source new vaccines or other treatments, particularly in the face of any potential fall or winter surge, given high global demand. Even so, the Biden administration’s emergency measures may not be enough to secure vaccines for every American should a new, next-generation version reach the market, according to a second White House aide.
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