On February 2, President Biden announced about plans to increase vaccine supply, initial launch of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, and expansion of FEMA reimbursement to states.
“As the U.S. surpasses 26 million COVID-19 infections, President Biden took additional steps today to implement his comprehensive National Strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. These steps include increasing the vaccine supply to states, Tribes, and territories and increasing funding to jurisdictions to help turn vaccines into vaccinations. And, the President announced that starting next week, the first phase of the federal pharmacy program will launch and select pharmacies nationwide will start offering vaccinations for their communities,” – The White House report.
These new steps will help meet the President’s goal of administering 100 million shots in 100 days and expand access to vaccines to more Americans in the coming weeks.
Increase Vaccine Supply
Building on last week’s announcement, the Biden-Harris Administration will increase overall, weekly vaccine supplies to states, Tribes, and territories to 10.5 million doses nationwide beginning this week. This is a 22% increase since taking office on January 20. The Administration is committing to maintaining this as the minimum supply level for the next three weeks, and we will continue to work with manufacturers in their efforts to ramp up supply.
Production of the two coronavirus vaccines authorized in the United States is accelerating, even as companies with experimental vaccines nearing the end of trials struggles to meet ambitious manufacturing targets. That means the United States should have 200 million doses each from the companies with authorized shots, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
“I think the U.S. will most probably be one of the first countries of size to get its population protected,” Stephane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna, said this week at a keynote panel for the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, an annual biopharmaceutical investor conference.
First Phase of the American Rescue Plan
Launching First Phase of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination will be at efforts to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines. Starting on February 11, those eligible for the vaccine will have the opportunity to be vaccinated at select pharmacies across the country through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination.
This program is a public-private partnership with 21 national pharmacy partners and networks of independent pharmacies representing over 40,000 pharmacy locations nationwide (listed below). It is a key component of the Administration’s National Strategy to expand equitable access to vaccines for the American public.
“As the first phase of this program launches, select retail pharmacies nationwide will receive limited vaccine supply to vaccinate priority groups at no cost. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worked with states to select initial pharmacy partners based on a number of factors including their ability to reach some of the populations most at risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Americans should check their pharmacy’s website to find out if vaccine is available as supply will be limited in the initial phase,” – The White House said.
Central to the Biden-Harris Administration’s COVID-19 National Strategy is ensuring states, Tribes, territories, and jurisdictions have the resources they need to defeat the virus. That’s why, in his second day in office, President Biden directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fully reimburse states for the cost of National Guard Personnel and emergency costs.
President Biden is announcing that the administration will go even further, retroactively reimbursing states fully for FEMA-eligible services – including masks, gloves, emergency feeding actions, sheltering at risk populations, and mobilization of the National Guard – back dated to the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020.
This reimbursement is estimated to total $3-5 billion and is only a small share of the resources that states need to fight this pandemic — including for testing, genomic sequencing, and mass vaccination centers. To fully support states, Tribes, and territories’ needs to contain the pandemic and vaccinate their populations, President Biden is requesting $350 billion from Congress in the American Rescue Plan.