☷Fact Sheet Biden Administration Underscores Urgent Need for Additional COVID 19 Response Funding and the Severe Consequences of Congressional Inaction
White House ( By Press Release office)
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The Biden Administration is sounding the alarm for the urgent need for Congress to provide funding for the nation’s COVID - 19 response and is underscoring the severe consequences of their inaction: Fewer vaccines , treatments , and tests for the American people , and fewer shots in arms around the world . Over the past 15 months , the Biden Administration has used the resources Congress provided to mobilize a comprehensive COVID - 19 response . As a result , the United States has made tremendous progress in our fight against the virus—saving over 2 million American lives , safely reopening our schools , creating jobs at a record pace , returning to more normal routines , and averting $900 billion in health care costs . In March , the President laid out a comprehensive National COVID - 19 Preparedness Plan to keep America moving forward safely , by ensuring that lifesaving tools like vaccines and treatments remain free and widely available to Americans , by preparing for potential surges and new variants , and by getting more shots in arms around the world . Executing this plan remains essential to sustaining the progress we have made and saving more lives . There has been an uptick in cases in parts of the country and , while cases will continue to fluctuate , this virus has proven itself to be unpredictable . Without funding , the United States will be unprepared for whatever comes next . COVID - 19 isn’t waiting on Congress to negotiate . Other countries will not wait . Time is of the essence . Congress must act urgently to help save more American lives and ensure we remain prepared . Congressional inaction on additional COVID - 19 response funding means:Fewer Vaccines for Americans:The Administration cannot secure enough booster shots for every American , if they are needed in the fall . At this moment , the United States has enough supply to support one booster shot for Americans age 12 and over , and additional boosters for immunocompromised individuals and those age 50 and older . However , if additional booster shots are authorized and recommended for the general population , we will not have the supply necessary to provide free and easy access to them for all Americans . At this time last year , the Administration was contracting for future boosters that could ultimately be needed starting in September; this allowed us to make those booster shots free and widely available as soon as they were authorized . The Department of Health and Human Services ( HHS ) needs to begin contracting for boosters imminently so that the agency can conclude contractual negotiations as soon as May to ensure delivery of sufficient supply by September . Other countries are already placing orders for future needs and as a result , will get supply before it is available for Americans . Just yesterday , Pfizer submitted an application to the U . S . Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) for Emergency Use Authorization for its booster for kids ages 5 to 11 . If these boosters are authorized and recommended , we would not have enough supply for every child in that age group . Not having enough supply to support booster shots for everyone , if needed , puts American lives at risk , and is a completely avoidable outcome . The Administration cannot secure new COVID - 19 vaccines to protect against multiple variants for the American people . Vaccine manufacturers are working on developing vaccines that could offer broader and longer - lasting protection than our existing vaccines—and there is ongoing discussion among scientific and medical experts , including FDA’s panel of outside experts , about the potential need for vaccines with new formulations in the future to better protect us from variants . Just this month , Moderna released data on a new vaccine that could potentially offer better protection against multiple variants . The company also announced that it expects to release data on an Omicron - specific vaccine soon . This means that there could be more effective vaccines available as soon as this fall that can enhance the protection Americans receive from getting vaccinated . The United States should be securing these vaccines today , but without funding , the Administration cannot purchase doses for the American people or even ensure that America is in line for them . This could mean people in other countries have access to the best lifesaving vaccines before Americans . Vaccines have proven to be our single - most important tool in protecting people , and the best ones should be available for the American people . Fewer Treatments for Americans:The Administration cannot restock the nation’s supply of lifesaving treatments . To date , the Administration has distributed over 9 . 6 million courses of treatment across the country , working with states and territories , Tribes , pharmacies , federal health centers , and other partners to provide them to Americans for free . Due to a lack of funding , we have already missed the opportunity to purchase additional supply of these lifesaving treatments . To stretch our supply as much as possible , last month , the Administration was forced to cut the number of monoclonal antibody treatments distributed to states by over 30 percent . Ensuring these treatments remain free , widely available , and easy to access for people who need them is crucial to our nation moving forward safely . The Administration cannot invest in promising treatments or secure newer , even better treatments for the American people . The federal government will not be able to invest in next - generation treatments that have the potential to provide broader protection against future variants or to treat people who may not be able to take full advantage of current treatments . Several candidates may be promising , and the United States will lose an opportunity to secure its spot in line and to support ramped - up manufacturing capacity of these treatments if we do not have funding to secure supply prior to a potential authorization or approval . Given COVID - 19’s potential to mutate , it is also prudent to support and secure a range of effective treatments that attack the virus in different ways to guard against future variants . The Administration will have to scale back purchases of treatments that protect immunocompromised Americans . The Administration has secured more than 1 million courses of Evusheld , a preventive therapy for immunocompromised people . Due to lack of funding , we have had to substantially scale back our plans to purchase additional supply . This therapy takes months to produce , and at this point , we are at risk of missing out on supply that will be delivered in the last few months of 2022 . Congressional inaction will put immunocompromised individuals at greater risk as we enter this fall . Fewer Tests for Americans:The Administration cannot sustain domestic testing manufacturing capacity and will be unprepared for another surge in testing demand . Omicron drove unprecedented demand for COVID - 19 testing around the world . As cases have fallen dramatically , so has demand for testing . Demand will continue to decrease over time , and as a result , domestic manufacturers will start ramping down production across the next several weeks and months . Federal investments are a crucial way to preserve the domestic testing manufacturing capacity we have built over the last 15 months . Without these investments , it will take manufacturers months to ramp back up to rebuild capacity , so failure to invest now will leave us with insufficient testing capacity and supply if we see another surge in cases and demand for testing increases once again . This would mean empty store shelves , long lines at testing sites , and slower results which will have life - or - death consequences for people who need to take lifesaving treatments within days of becoming symptomatic . That should not be allowed to happen . Fewer Shots in Arms Around the World:The United States cannot supercharge our effort to get more shots in arms , putting us at greater risk for more variants that may prove to be even more dangerous than the ones we have faced to date . The U . S . has now delivered over half a billion adult vaccines to 114 countries . Countries need funding and assistance to turn vaccines into vaccinations . Without additional funding for our global response , we will not have resources to help get more shots in arms in countries in need—which is one of the best ways we can prevent future variants . We will also lack funding to provide oxygen and other lifesaving supplies , and our global genomic sequencing capabilities will fall off—undermining our ability to detect any emerging variants around the world . ###
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