pcloudy.png
Wednesday September 23rd, 2020 3:28PM

US unveils broad vaccine plan -- but no quick rollout

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government outlined a sweeping plan Wednesday to make vaccines for COVID-19 available for free to all Americans when proven safe and effective, though a top public health official made clear that widespread vaccination of millions of Americans couldn’t come until well into next year.

In a report to Congress and an accompanying “playbook” for states and localities, federal health agencies and the Defense Department sketched out complex plans for a vaccination campaign to begin gradually in January or even late this year, eventually ramping up to reach any American who wants a shot.

President Donald Trump asserted Tuesday that a vaccine could be three to four weeks away. But the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Congress Wednesday that it would take six to nine months after any shot's approval to distribute it nationally.

CDC Director Robert Redfield said any vaccine available in November or December would be in “very limited supply,” and reserved for first responders and people most vulnerable to COVID-19. The shot wouldn’t be broadly available until the spring or summer of 2021, he estimated.

Redfield and other health officials testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee also emphasized the effectiveness of masks in stopping the pandemic's spread, given that no vaccine is 100% protective. The flu vaccine, for example, is generally about 40% to 60% effective against the annual viral strain.

Redfield, masked in the hearing room, said,“I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine."

Trump has continued to downplay the effectiveness of masks in spite of the recommendations of his own health experts, mentioning Tuesday that waiters have struggled with their face coverings and do not like them.

The entire vaccine enterprise faces continued skepticism. Only about half of Americans said they’d get vaccinated in an Associated Press-NORC poll taken in May. Since then, questions have only mounted about whether the government is trying to rush treatments and vaccines to help Trump’s reelection chances.

The Health and Human Services Department announced Wednesday that political appointee Michael Caputo would take a leave of absence to "focus on his health and the well-being of his family.” The news followed revelations that Caputo had tried to gain editorial control over the CDC's scientific publications on COVID-19, which he contended were hurting the Trump administration.

Redfield said that the “scientific integrity” of his agency’s reports “has not been compromised and it will not be compromised under my watch.” He also rejected questions about whether the CDC's timeline for states to be ready for a vaccine by Nov. 1 was politically motivated.

“The worst thing that could happen is if we have a vaccine delivered and we’re still not ready to distribute,” Redfield told Senate lawmakers. “There was absolutely no political thinking about it.”

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the committee’s top Democrat, said political interference from HHS had damaged public trust in the government’s health information.

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

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said while campaigning that he trusts what scientists say about a potential vaccine — but not Trump.

Biden has said he would take a vaccine “tomorrow” if it were available but he would want to “see what the scientists said” first.

As for the planned vaccine campaign, Redfield said that his agency will be working with state health officials to implement the preparations in coming days.

Among the highlights of the plan:

— For most vaccines, people will need two doses, 21 to 28 days apart. Double-dose vaccines will have to come from the same drugmaker. There could be several vaccines from different manufacturers approved and available.

— Vaccination of the U.S. population won't be a sprint but a marathon. Initially there may be a limited supply of vaccines, and the focus will be on protecting health workers, other essential employees, and people in vulnerable groups. A second and third phase would expand vaccination to the entire population.

— The vaccine itself will be free of charge, thanks to billions of dollars in taxpayer funding approved by Congress and allocated by the Trump administration. The goal is that patients won’t be separately charged for administration of their shots, and officials say they are working to ensure that’s the case for all Medicare recipients and uninsured people as well those covered by insurance at their jobs.

— States and local communities will need to devise precise plans for receiving and locally distributing vaccines, some of which will require special handling such as refrigeration or freezing. States and cities have a month to submit plans.

— A massive information technology effort will be needed to track who is getting which vaccines and when, and the key challenge involves getting multiple public and private databases to link with each other.

Some of the broad components of the federal plan have already been discussed, but Wednesday's reports attempt to put the key details into a comprehensive framework. Distribution is under the umbrella of Operation Warp Speed, a White House-backed initiative to have vaccines ready to ship in 24 hours from when a version is given emergency use approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

However, public skepticism remains. Of the Americans who said in the May AP poll that they wouldn't get vaccinated, the overwhelming majority said they were worried about safety. To effectively protect the nation from the coronavirus, experts say 70% to 90% of Americans must either be vaccinated or have their own immunity from fighting off COVID-19.

As public confidence in health agencies has taken a beating, Trump administration officials have been forced to play defense.

“We’re dealing in a world of great uncertainty,” said Paul Mango, a top HHS official working on the vaccine plan.

___

AP Writer Alexandra Jaffe contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US unveils broad vaccine plan -- but no quick rollout
The federal government is outlining a sweeping plan to make COVID-19 vaccines available for free to all Americans
5:23PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Biden says he trusts vaccines and scientists, not Trump
Joe Biden says that while he trusts what scientists say about a potential coronavirus vaccine, he doesn’t trust President Donald Trump
5:18PM ( 15 minutes ago )
The Latest: Mississippi boat captain: 'We were lucky'
Mississippi charter boat captain Rocky Bond is breathing easy now
5:17PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
GOP shrugs off Trump's call for 'higher' offer on virus aid
President Donald Trump says Republicans should increase their offer for a coronavirus relief bill
4:42PM ( 51 minutes ago )
The Latest: Governor wants explanation for Trump rallies
Nevada’s Democratic governor has sent a letter to the White House and the coronavirus task force asking for an explanation on the president’s decision to hold rallies in the state last weekend during a pandemic
4:36PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Romney says Biden probe 'not legitimate role of government'
Sen. Mitt Romney is sharply criticizing a Republican investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son
4:29PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Texas soldier's slaying inspires bid to expand military code
Congress is considering whether to expand measures aimed at preventing sexual assault and harassment involving U.S. military personnel
2:01PM ( 3 hours ago )
US outlines sweeping plan to provide free COVID-19 vaccines
The federal government is outlining a sweeping plan to make COVID-19 vaccines available for free to all Americans
2:00PM ( 3 hours ago )
State denies improper IG firing, defends Saudi arms sales
The State Department has denied charges of improperly firing its independent inspector general
1:43PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: United Nations chief: Virus is 'out of control'
The United Nations chief says the COVID-19 pandemic remains “out of control,” with the world approaching “the grimmest of milestones: 1 million lives lost to the virus.”
4:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: White House says herd immunity isn't US strategy
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday was asked whether the White House was now counting on herd immunity to deal with the virus
3:26PM ( 2 hours ago )
Doctors in hard-hit Madrid: 'It's like March in slow motion'
Authorities in Madrid say selective lockdowns will be introduced in urban areas where the coronavirus is spreading faster to avoid bottlenecks in health services
3:21PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Health
Bones to pick, for $8M: Stan the T rex goes up for auction
The legend of the Tyrannosaurus rex known as Stan is getting fresh life thanks to Christie's auction house
4:38PM ( 55 minutes ago )
An auction house with good bones: Stan the T rex is for sale
The legend of the Tyrannosaurus rex known as Stan is getting fresh life thanks to Christie's auction house
4:32PM ( 1 hour ago )
Experts cite 'crimes against humanity' in Maduro's Venezuela
Independent experts commissioned by the U.N.’s top human rights body have issued a scathing, in-depth report finding the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro responsible for crimes against humanity
4:18PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
South Africa says 12 million 'probably' had coronavirus
South Africa's health minister says about 12 million people in the country have “probably” been infected with the coronavirus
2:15PM ( 3 hours ago )
Retail sales rise for 4th straight month as growth slows
Americans kept spending in August, but the pace of that growth is slowing as millions of unemployed people lost a $600 a week boost in their unemployment checks
10:07AM ( 7 hours ago )
Wall Street opens higher ahead of Fed statement
Stocks on Wall Street are opening higher Wednesday ahead of a Federal Reserve policy announcement
9:43AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Biden says he trusts vaccines and scientists, not Trump
Joe Biden says that while he trusts what scientists say about a potential coronavirus vaccine, he doesn’t trust President Donald Trump
5:18PM ( 15 minutes ago )
The Latest: Mississippi boat captain: 'We were lucky'
Mississippi charter boat captain Rocky Bond is breathing easy now
5:17PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Senators seek highest civilian honor for Till and his mother
A Republican and a Democratic senator say Congress should give the nation's highest civilian honor posthumously to Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley
5:15PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Reverse: Big Ten will try to play fall football after all
The Big Ten is going to give fall football a shot after all
5:13PM ( 20 minutes ago )
US charges 5 Chinese citizens in global hacking campaign
The Justice Department has charged five Chinese citizens with hacks targeting more than 100 companies and institutions in the United States and abroad, including social media and video game companies as well as universities and telecommunications providers
5:04PM ( 29 minutes ago )