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US Congress needs to provide USD 6 billion to distribute coronavirus vaccine: Top health official

ANI | September 18, 2020 12:27 PM
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Washington [US], September 18 (ANI): A top US health official has said that Congress needs to provide about USD 6 billion to help the country prepare for what is expected to be the largest COVID-19 vaccination campaign ever undertaken, Washington Post reported.

The Trump administration has released a detailed road map on Wednesday of their plan to speed doses of coronavirus vaccine into millions of Americans.

Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has informed a Senate panel that his agency does not have the critical funds that the country need for the vaccine distribution, which will take place in phases.

In order to maintain vaccines, a temperature of minus-70 Celsius (minus-94 Fahrenheit) will be required. Special freezers and dry ice systems will be necessary to ensure people get the correct doses at the right times, most vaccines will require two shots and multiple scenarios for giving shots at hospitals, pharmacies, mobile clinics and doctors' offices.

The CDC laid out a distribution scenario for the last quarter of the year when a limited supply of one or two vaccines might be ready to be given to priority groups. Officials described scenarios for "vaccine A" and "vaccine B"; how many doses may be available by the end of October, November and December; storage requirements; and minimum order amounts, reported Washington Post.

"Vaccine A, which is the product being developed by Pfizer, needs to be stored at minus-70 degrees Celsius (minus-94 Fahrenheit) and requires two doses, 21 days apart. About 2 million doses would be available by the end of October; 10 million to 20 million by the end of November; and 20 million to 30 million by the end of December. The minimum order is about 1,000 doses," the article said.

"Vaccine B, if approved, can be stored at minus-20 degrees Celsius (minus-4 Fahrenheit) and requires two doses, 28 days apart. A total of about 26 million doses of vaccine B would be available by the end of the year, most of them in December. The details match the product being developed by Moderna," it added.

The CDC has about USD 600 million in dwindling relief money, but it urgently need additional resources, Redfield said, responding to questions from Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Education.

"We need to get resources to states now," Redfield said. "They cannot do it without resources. In my professional opinion ... it's going to take somewhere between USD 5.5 [billion] to USD 6 billion to distribute this vaccine. It's as urgent as getting these manufacturing facilities up."

Administration officials have been seeking USD 6 billion for the distribution effort for the past two months, but bipartisan talks aimed at getting a deal on broad coronavirus relief, including money for the Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC, fell apart last month and prospects for reviving them are uncertain.

Lawmakers have failed to reach agreement on the size and scope of the bigger-ticket items, such as aid to state and local governments and extending unemployment benefits. (ANI)

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