US outlines sweeping plan to provide free COVID-19 vaccines to all Americans
The vaccine, which is funded by the federal budget, will first be offered to Americans and only then exported.
WASHINGTON – Donald Trump administration says it ultimately intends to make the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge to virtually everyone in the U.S. who wants to get vaccinated.
Insurance companies are expected to cover the cost of vaccinations for most Americans, a senior administration official said at a briefing on the government’s attempts to get the vaccine before the end of the year..
As for those without insurance, the official added, “Our role as the federal government is to make sure that every person who is vulnerable, who cannot afford the vaccine but wants it, gets it.”.
The official said that the vaccine, created with federal funding, will first be offered to Americans and only then shipped to other countries..
“We have very clear priorities – take care of the Americans first,” said an administration official..
“If there is a surplus, then we are interested in people around the world being vaccinated,” he added, noting that the virus came to the United States from abroad..
Other countries are signing separate contracts for vaccine production elsewhere, he said..
“Our contracts in no way prohibit people in other regions of the world from receiving these vaccines,” the official added..
As part of Operation Warp Speed, the administration wants to receive 300 million doses of vaccine by January 2021.
So far, the government has announced contracts worth more than $ 3 billion to support vaccine testing, production and distribution. Congress Allocates Nearly $ 10 Billion to Develop Vaccines, Treatments, and Diagnose COVID-19.
During the development process, 14 candidates were selected from over 100 vaccines. The government said it will select seven of the most promising for clinical trials.
President Donald Trump’s administration has already announced support for candidate vaccines being developed by three companies.
Moderna commenced Phase I of a three-phase clinical trial in mid-March. Johnson Company & Johnson plans to start them this summer, and AstraZeneca will begin the final, large-scale phase of clinical trials of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford this summer..
The administration says the vaccine will be available as early as October if trials are successful.
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