The White House is planning serious contingencies that could include rationing vaccine supplies and treatments this fall unless Congress approves more money to fight COVID-19.

In public comments and private meetings on Capitol Hill, Dr. Ashish Ja, White House coronavirus coordinator, painted a dark picture in which the U.S. may be forced to abandon many of the advances in coronavirus over the past two years and even the most vulnerable may face supply shortages.

Representatives of the Biden administration warned for several weeks that the country had spent almost all the money in the US rescue plan of $ 1.9 trillion, which was devoted directly to the response to COVID-19.

There remains a small margin of money, and the administration is faced with important decisions on how to spend it. This means weighing whether to use it to provide the next generation of vaccines to protect the highest risk populations, or to prioritize the supply of highly effective treatments that dramatically reduce the risk of serious illness and death.

According to the administration, this decision may be made next week, as the White House faces deadlines to begin placing orders for vaccines and treatment before other countries get ahead of the U.S. in access to supplies.

Ja warned that without more money vaccines would be harder to find, tests would be scarce again, and therapeutic tools to help the country withstand the current omicron outbreak without a corresponding increase in deaths could be sold abroad. before Americans get access to them.

“I think if that happened we would see a lot of unnecessary losses,” Ja said last week. “But we’re looking at all the scenarios and planning everything.”

He said the administration is “much more involved in developing scenarios to make sure we know what awaits us so we can plan for it and obviously also present them to Congress.”

Ja, who declined to estimate the potential deaths, was the face of the Biden administration’s efforts to persuade Congress to approve an additional $ 22.5 billion to respond to COVID-19.

“The scenarios we are planning relate to things like that if Congress doesn’t give us money and we don’t have adequate vaccines,” Ja AP said in a May 12 interview. “We’ve run out of therapy. We don’t have enough tests. What might it look like? Obviously, it’s a pretty difficult situation.”

Domestic production testing at home is already slowing down, workers are being laid off. In the coming weeks, Ja said, manufacturers will sell off equipment and “get out of this business,” leaving the U.S. again dependent on foreign suppliers for rapid testing.

A negative COVID-19 test result is reflected in a home self-test kit provided to the U.S. by the U.S. government on May 20, 2022 (Photo by Diaa Bekheet)

Drug manufacturers and the Office of Food and Drug Administration are meanwhile working to evaluate next-generation vaccines, potentially including those targeting the dominant omicron strain. But preparing them for the projected surge in the fall means placing orders now, as their production takes two to three months.

This week, Ja said the U.S. has not yet begun talks with drug manufacturers because of a lack of money.

“We had very preliminary talks with the producers,” he said. “But negotiations on this have not yet begun, in part because we are waiting for resources.” He added: “The truth is that other countries are in talks with producers and are starting to promote their negotiations.”

In the US, he said, there is not enough money to buy additional vaccines for those who want to. Instead, supplies of these vaccines may be limited to only the most vulnerable – in contrast to the chaotic first days of the spread of the COVID-10 vaccine.

“Without additional funding from Congress, we will not be able to buy enough vaccines for every American who wants as soon as these next-generation vaccines appear in the fall and winter,” he said.

And while the U.S. has amassed Paxlovid antiviral pills that have been widely effective in reducing serious illness and death, they lack the money to purchase new doses – or other, even more effective treatments that are in the final stages of development.

“If we don’t get more resources from Congress, then in the fall and winter we will find a time when Americans can look back and see their friends in other countries – Europe and Canada – with access to these treatments that Americans will not have.” said Ja.

There is no guarantee of quick action on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers – especially Republicans – have begun to fear scarce spending. On Thursday, a $ 40 billion measure to help restaurants that fought during the pandemic failed on that basis. Republican lawmakers also objected to additional funding for the global pandemic response and called for any new funding for the virus to come from unspent money for $ 1.9 trillion in economic aid to save.

The administration is preparing to lay the blame on lawmakers, if this fall due to lack of money will be severe consequences. However, it could be dangerous for Biden, who has vigorously kept his promise to voters to take control of the pandemic.

Source by [author_name]

Previous article25 athletes who competed from the age of 40 onwards Professional
Next articleRussia’s statement on the capture of Mariupol is of concern to prisoners of war