President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday and ensure America First for COVID-19 vaccines. Trump wants priority access for Americans. This covers COVID-19 vaccines purchased by the government. The Health and Human Services department hopes to get enough stocks by June 2021. The ‘America First’ policy also means that the US will prioritize local inoculations. Only after completing American vaccinations can the US offer assistance to other countries.
A senior administration official said the EO is a “reaffirmation of the president’s commitment to America First.” It directs government agencies to team up in helping allies procure Covid vaccines. These include the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). However, only supply and demand will determine the provision of American aid. However, the EO will overlap schedules with the incoming Biden administration. Upon taking over, Biden will most likely develop their own policy and invalidate this one.
President Trump reportedly will sign the EO at the start of Tuesday’s COVID-109 summit at the White House. This event will feature discussions with administration officials and drug distributors. Among the topics include the process of vaccine reviews and distribution.
One of the leading vaccine candidates, Pfizer and BioNTech, will meet with officials from the Food and Drug Administration on December 10. The joint developers are seeking emergency use authorization (EUA) for their vaccine. Pfizer and BioNTech completed large scale trials and reported a 90% efficacy rate. Meanwhile, rival biotech firm Moderna also reported stellar results for their vaccine. The biotech firm reported a 95% success rate in preventing coronavirus. The FDA will meet on Moderna’s application for EUA on December 17.
If the Pfizer/BioNTech alliance gets a EUA, the distribution process starts immediately. Specifically, the White House Coronavirus Task Force hopes approval arrives by Friday earliest. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn last week said they are “very hopeful” of approval. Because of that, the agency is “moving very quickly.”
Why the Executive Order?
A White House official spoke to Fox News about Trump’s planned EO. “The priority is to make sure we distribute these vaccines to Americans before we start shipping them around the world to get international access,” he said. American international assistance comes later, likely during “late spring, early summer.” In addition, international assistance will only happen once the US completes its local vaccination efforts.
The executive order makes prioritization “clear and is directing that we prioritize access to the American people before working with partners and allies to provide access to the vaccine.” Also, the order identifies “who will be working with the international aspect of this, the framework, guides, and tools, for when we have an excess supply to meet those demands.”
Speeds Unseen Before
The order formalizes the HHS initiative to prioritize the distribution of the vaccines. This means that distribution and delivery will happen at speeds “unseen before.” The Trump administration invested “at-risk” with all vaccine manufacturers. Funding not only covered research and development. But, it also aimed to speed up production even before FDA approval.
Once the entire country gets their vaccine doses, the US can now start assisting other countries. Guidelines will cover how agencies can deal with assistance. This covers organizations such as USAID, HHS, the ExIm Bank, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corp.
Operation Warp Speed
Operation Warp Speed is the public-private partnership designed to acquire COVID-19 vaccines. Part of OWS supports expedited manufacturing and distribution of the vaccines before approval. In this case, Pfizer and BioNTech will need to have their deliveries ready at a moment’s notice. The program identified and signed up six vaccine candidates. This includes the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna candidates.
As soon as any vaccine shows promise, the government will start “facilitating production on the front end.” This means that as soon as any candidate gets a EUA, vaccines will appear in hospitals “within the first 24 hours” of approval. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar expects the average American can expect receiving a dose by the “second quarter” of 2021.
Watch the NewsNow from Fox video where President Trump vows that Americans will get vaccines first:
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