Wilmington – Vaccinating 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office is just the start of his plan against coronavirus, President-elect Joe Biden said Friday. The lasting impact, he said, will come from uniting the nation in a new science-based effort and supported by federal resources for inoculations, testing and outbreak detection.
“You have my word: We will handle this operation well,” Biden said. But he also underscored the need for Congress to pass more resources and for people to maintain basic precautions, such as wearing masks, avoiding meetings, and washing their hands frequently.
“This is not a political issue,” Biden declared. “It’s about saving lives. I know it has become a partisan issue, but it is stupid to happen. “RELATED
Biden made his announcement a day after he unveiled a $ 1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” to tackle the virus and provide temporary support to a precarious economy. Some $ 400 billion from the plan is focused on measures to control the virus. These range from setting up mass vaccination centers to conducting more advanced scientific testing of new strains and crews of healthcare workers tracking contacts of infected people.
On Friday, Biden pledged to maximize the available supply of vaccines and supplies needed to deliver them, leveraging the Defense Production Act to control private manufacturing.
Biden also seconded President Donald Trump’s administration’s call this week for states to begin vaccinating more seniors, 65 and older, as well as younger people with certain health problems. To date, states have focused on inoculating health workers, and some are beginning to vaccinate people 75 and older. Relatively few are vaccinating people between the ages of 65 and 75.
Dr. Leana Wen, an expert in public health and emergency medicine, said Biden should set higher goals.
“Right now, mass vaccination is our last and best chance to restore normalcy,” he declared. “No expense should be spared for vaccination. One hundred million vaccines in 100 days should be seen only as a beginning ”.
For their part, some governors lashed out at the Trump administration for what at least one said was a “hoax” for hinting this week that a stock of vaccine doses was ready for shipment. One official said the states have not yet mandated all the doses they are assigned, describing it as a problem stemming from state expectations.
Biden vowed to improve communication with states to avoid surprises about how many vaccines they can expect. His plan calls for the federal government to fully reimburse states that mobilize their National Guard to help distribute the vaccines.
The plan was unveiled as a divided nation is in the midst of the most dangerous wave of the pandemic yet. To date, more than 389,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States.