President-elect Joe Biden said Friday that he will use the Defense Production Act to boost supplies needed to administer vaccines to speed up the nation’s effort to inoculate citizens against COVID-19.
What are the details?
“We’ll use the Defense Production Act to work with private industry to accelerate the making of materials needed to supply and administer the vaccine — from the tube and syringes, to protective equipment,” Biden said
The president-elect did not name which companies would be tapped, but explained that his transition team has already been working on the effort, saying, “Even though we don’t have the authority yet, go out and identify those companies that are prepared and will be able to do what we’re going to ask.”
“We need more vaccination sites,” Biden declared in a speech. “That’s where we’re going to harness the full resources of the federal government to establish thousands of community vaccination centers. On my first day in office I’ll instruct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to begin setting up the first of these centers.
“By the end of my first month in office, we will have 100 federally supported centers across the nation that will ultimately vaccinate millions of people,” he said, noting that his administration would prioritize black and Latino communities.
Biden went on to say that pharmacies across the nation will also be empowered to administered the vaccine, much as they do flu shots.
“You have my word: We will manage the hell out of this operation,” he promised.
During the speech, Biden was critical of the Trump administration’s distribution efforts of the two coronavirus vaccines developed through President Donald Trump’s initiative, “Operation Warp Speed.” The Associated Press reported that Biden has called Trump’s vaccine rollout “a dismal failure so far.”
Biden’s discussion of his plans to combat COVID-19 came the day after he unveiled a $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” that includes $1,400 stimulus checks, an extension of moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures, and a federal minimum wage increase to $15 per hour.
The AP reported:
About $400 billion of the plan is focused on measures aimed at controlling the virus. Those range from mass vaccination centers to more sophisticated scientific analysis of new strains and squads of local health workers to trace the contacts of infected people.