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Capitol Correspondence - 02.02.21

Biden Administration Seeks to Purchase 200 Million More Vaccines

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As part of our advocacy to ensure people with disabilities and the Direct Support Professionals who support them have access to COVID-19 vaccines, ANCOR is following news on the national vaccine supply. As reported by Politico Pulse:

“The federal government’s new tranche of vaccines would consist of 100 million doses each from Moderna and Pfizer, bringing the nation’s total capacity to 600 million, your host reports with Rachel Roubein. Yet those shots likely won’t be delivered until sometime this summer, raising the possibility that shortages could persist for months. [UPDATE: it remains to be seen how the vaccine supply will change following news of Johnson and Johnson’s single-shot vaccine being 66 percent effective in a global trial.]

— The White House is also upping its weekly allocations. States and other jurisdictions will receive 10 million total doses each week for the next three weeks, up from 8.6 million, Biden announced Tuesday, and the additional doses will be doled out based on population. The administration will also give supply estimates further in advance, after states complained that they need more notice to plan out their vaccine distribution.

— Both Democratic and Republican governors cheered the announcement on a private call with White House officials, according to notes obtained by POLITICO. But those measures won’t fix the nation’s pressing supply problem on their own; releasing more doses as vaccine manufacturing ramps up and exercising previously agreed-on options to buy more shots from Pfizer and Moderna amount to pulling levers that were already in place.”

In addition to the supply challenges mentioned above, the pandemic response is being affected by the rise of even more contagious COVID-19 variants, first documented in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, and which have now emerged in the United States, including in in South Carolina and Maryland, among others. ANCOR reminds our members that pending access to vaccines, it is important to wash hands frequently, practice physical distancing and wear masks, all of which are highly effective ways of preventing the spread of the virus.