US outlines comprehensive plan to provide free COVID-19 vaccines

WASHINGTON – The government on Wednesday outlined a comprehensive plan to provide vaccines for COVID-19 to all Americans for free, developing a safe and effective shot, even to top health officials Questions about political interference were encountered with the reported virus.

In a report with a “playbook” for Congress and states and localities, federal health agencies and the Department of Defense put an end to complex plans for the vaccination campaign to begin in January or gradually later this year , Finally wants a shot to reach his American. The Pentagon will be involved with the distribution of vaccines, but civilian health workers will be the ones delivering the shots.

But the entire enterprise is facing public skepticism. Only half of Americans said they would get vaccinated in an Associated Press-NORC poll in May.

Director of Disease Control and Prevention Drs. Robert Redfield discussed the plan in front of Senate lawmakers on Wednesday after Trump’s appointment pushed his agency to revise several scientific assessments of the virus.

Redfield told members of the Senate appropriation committee that the “scientific integrity” of the CDC’s production had not been compromised and would not be compromised under my watch. “

Last week, news outlets reported that Michael Caputo, the political appointee of the Department of Health and Human Services, tried to gain editorial control over the CDC’s major weekly scientific report. In a separate online video last week, Caputo allegedly accused CDC scientists of plotting against the reunion of President Donald Trump.

“It makes me sad that he was wrongly accused,” Redfield told Senate lawmakers.

St. Patty Murray of Washington, the committee’s top Democrat, said that political interference has damaged public confidence in government health information.

“The Trump administration needs scientists to leave science immediately,” Murray said.

As stated for the planned vaccine campaign, the CDC Playbook for States states that “it is much larger than the vaccine responses related to seasonal influenza or any previous outbreak.” Redfield said his agency would work with state health officials to execute the vaccination plan in the coming days.

Although President Donald Trump said Tuesday at ABC News Town Hall that a vaccine could be three to four weeks away, officials clarified to reporters on a call Wednesday that widespread availability would take months.

Highlights of the scheme:

– For most vaccines, people will require two doses, 21 to 28 days apart. Double-dose vaccines have to come from the same drugmaker. There may be multiple vaccines from different manufacturers approved and available.

– Vaccination of the American population will not be a sprint but a marathon. Initially there may be a limited supply of vaccines, and attention will be given to health workers, other essential staff and the safety of people in vulnerable groups. “The initial (in) COVID-19 vaccination program may have a limited supply of vaccine and vaccine efforts may be critical to the response, providing direct care and maintaining social functions, as well as developing disease. May also be the highest risk for. ” , ”Redfield said. Vaccination will expand in the entire population in the second and third stages.

– The vaccine itself will be free, thanks to billions of dollars in taxpayer funding approved by Congress and allocated by the Trump administration. The goal is that patients will not be charged separately for the administration of their shots, and officials say they are working to ensure that all Medicare recipients and unspecified people as well as their jobs Also covered by insurance in.

– States and local communities will need to formulate precise plans to obtain and deliver vaccines locally, some of which will require special handling such as refrigeration or freezing. States and cities have one month to submit schemes.

– It will require a massive information technology effort to track which vaccines are introduced and when, and the major challenge involves linking multiple public and private databases with each other.

Some broad components of the federal plan have already been discussed, but Wednesday’s reports attempt to put key details into a broader framework. The delivery operation is under the umbrella of Tana Speed, a White House-backed initiative that when a version is approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration, ship-ready vaccines in 24 hours. Several formulations are being tested last.

However, public skepticism remains. In a May AP poll that said Americans would not vaccinate, an overwhelming majority said they were concerned about safety. To effectively protect the nation from coronaviruses, experts say that 70% to 90% of Americans must either be vaccinated or have their own immunity from fighting COVID-19.

Since the vote, questions have been raised as to whether the government is trying to get treatment and vaccines to help with President Donald Trump’s reunion opportunities.

Prior to the Republican National Convention in August, the FDA approved authorization for the treatment of COVID-19 patients with the plasma of those recovered, although some government scientists were not sure the clinical evidence Were sufficiently strong.

As public confidence in core health agencies has risen, Trump administration officials have been forced to play for defense.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement on Wednesday, “We are working closely with our state and local public health partners. To ensure that Americans can get the vaccine as soon as possible and to be vaccinated with confidence Can. ” “Americans should know that the vaccine development process is being driven entirely by science and data.”

This can be a difficult sale. In the AP poll, 1 in 5 Americans said they would not receive the coronavirus virus vaccine, and 31% said they were unsure.

Uncertainty is also an issue for military officials working on hundreds of federal health care and vaccination programs. For example, such basics as the effectiveness of the final vaccine are still unknown. The FDA has set a 50% effectiveness limit to approve the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are working in a world of great uncertainty,” said Paul Mango, a top HHS officer working on the vaccine plan.

–The Associated Press

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