The Biden administration may soon run out of money to fight Covid

The administration originally planned to purchase another round of Covid vaccines to cover the possibility that Americans might need another booster vaccine, as well as purchase more monoclonal antibody treatments and invest in new and existing antiviral pills to help reduce further increases.

But buying more vaccines and antiviral pills from Pfizer alone is expected to cost about $ 10 billion, according to people briefed on the issue. This will leave the administration with little money for additional treatment.

“Funds are needed in March to provide additional delivery in July,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. “You have to order them in advance to have them when you need them.”

At the current rate, the administration has enough monoclonal antibody treatment by May. This treatment, which costs about $ 2,000 per dose, significantly reduces the risk of death in critically ill patients.

The federal stockpile of prophylactic treatment for people with immunodeficiency will run out by July, with officials predicting that their stockpile of broader antiviral pills will run out by September.

The administration also hoped to invest in developing additional antiviral pills that patients could take to reduce their risk after infection – steps that would allow them to pre-purchase doses before they are officially authorized. . But this should also be postponed until the government receives additional funding.

Limited funding comes a week after the White House devised a long-term strategy to isolate the nation from future coyote waves, stressing at the time that its success depended on Congress spending much more.

HHS Secretary Xavier Besser initially requested about $ 30 billion in additional Covid assistance, a level that three people say will cover vaccine and treatment purchases, as well as some short-term needs.

But that amount was later reduced to $ 22.5 billion before being reduced to its current $ 15.6 billion, amid fierce opposition from Republicans who demanded that the administration first consider how it spent the hundreds of billions of dollars allocated for the response. For the past year.

“It’s not clear yet why additional funding is needed,” he said. Mit Romney (R-Ut.) And 35 other Republicans wrote in a letter last week asking the administration for a detailed distribution of spending.

On Wednesday, it was Democrats who threatened to suspend the funding package over a new Covid’s payment plan, asking the administration for assistance to the states originally allocated – further complicating efforts to secure additional funding in response.

The White House, which fears the explosion of a bipartisan government funding deal that will also provide about $ 14 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine, is still backing a broad package – even amid internal concerns that it could prepare them for further health growth. Officials inside and outside the administration consider it inevitable.

Although cases have fallen from their January peak, the U.S. still averages 1,500 kowd deaths a day. And when the virus is circulating around the world, public health experts say it is likely to continue to mutate. The United States endured three separate waves in 2021, including the emergence of the Delta in late summer and the winter Omicron wave.

The administration has already warned lawmakers that they must return soon with another request for funding to keep up with the response to Covid, Psaki called the initial $ 15.6 billion “urgent request” needed for the emergency.

Meanwhile, officials will have to suspend treatment, the scale of which could take months. Ongoing research and preparedness efforts will also be jeopardized, said two people briefed on the issue.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – led by Anthony Fauch and funding many studies of Covid-19 – has requested $ 12 billion for coronavirus research in fiscal year 2023, they said. The agency will receive $ 750 million to conduct this research with the current omnibus.

Without additional funding, NIAID studies on new coronavirus variants, treatments such as antivirals and other pandemic preparedness measures will be completed by early summer, two people said.

The Biden administration may soon run out of money to fight Covid

Source link The Biden administration may soon run out of money to fight Covid

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