Biden admin plans COVID-19 vaccine production blitz

Fox Business Flash top headlines for November 17

Check out what’s clicking on FoxBusiness.com.

The Biden administration will reportedly invest billions of dollars into expanding the domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines. 

The move is intended to build manufacturing capacity, with the goal of producing an additional one billion doses per year.

A senior health official from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told FOX Business on Wednesday that the administration was prepared to offer vaccine manufacturers who have demonstrated the capability to make mRNA vaccines substantial government resources to help expand infrastructure and capacity.

PFIZER ASKS FDA FOR EMERGENCY APPROVAL OF ANTIVIRAL PILL FOR TREATING COVID-19

Vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna currently produce the two U.S.-approved mRNA vaccines.

The official noted that, in the short term, the plan would make a significant amount of COVID-19 vaccine doses available at cost for global use. 

In the long term, they said it would help to establish sustained domestic manufacturing capacity in order to prepare for any future threats. 

President Biden waits to speak during a visit to the NH 175 bridge over the Pemigewasset River to promote infrastructure spending Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Woodstock, New Hampshire.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The official said the administration hopes that companies will take it up on the plan and aid in the effort to get more people around the world vaccinated against COVID-19.

This comes after World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the G-20 Summit in Italy that the world needs another 550 million doses to reach the organization's goal of vaccinating 40% of every country by the end of the year. 

Additionally, earlier in the fall, President Biden said the U.S. aims to send an additional 500 million COVID-19 vaccines around the world, bringing the total doses donated to other nations to more than 1.1 billion.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. had negotiated a deal to deliver Johnson & Johnson vaccines to conflict zones and for 300,000 doses to be made available to United Nations front-line workers. 

A State Department spokesperson told Fox News then that the department was aware of the urgency of the fight against the pandemic and that they could not disclose where the doses would be distributed, with the aim of protecting the safety of the vaccine providers, recipients and other humanitarian personnel working in conflict zones.

There are no firm agreements yet with Moderna or Pfizer to take up the U.S. on the investment, but the administration hopes that the enhanced manufacturing capacity will be available by mid-2022.

Thousands of government workers protest vaccine mandates in Los Angeles

Panel reacts to President Biden’s vaccine order and approval ratings on ‘The Evening Edit’

"This is about assuring expanded capacity against Covid variants and also preparing for the next pandemic," Dr. David Kessler, who oversees vaccine distribution for the administration, told The New York Times, which first reported the news, on Wednesday. "The goal, in the case of a future pandemic, a future virus, is to have vaccine capability within six to nine months of identification of that pandemic pathogen, and to have enough vaccines for all Americans."

Kessler said that the cost of the public-private partnership remains uncertain, but the money has been set aside as part of the American Rescue Plan.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

The HHS referred FOX Business to the solicitation, including the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency's (BARDA) "request for information." 

The Times noted that White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said that officials wanted responses "in a very short period of time, 30 days, to understand how most efficiently, effectively and reliably we can increase manufacturing."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Read Full Article