The U.S. war on COVID-19 will become more nationalized with the incoming President-elect Joe Biden as now reports are that both FEMA and the National Guard are planned for mobilization to build COVID-19 vaccination clinics across the country—part of the ‘COVID-19 vaccination plan.” Part of a broader $1.9 trillion stimulus plan that will involve emergency vaccination and economic relief based on five-point plan targeting rapid vaccination. Declaring recently “we remain in a very dark winter, the infection rate is up to 34%, we see 3 or 4,000 deaths per day. Things will only get worse before they get better.” Biden named former FDA chief David Kessler as head of Operation Warp Speed, which will be renamed. Calling the existing outgoing POTUS a “dismal failure” Biden announced a goal of 100 million vaccination shots during his first 100 days in office. According to reports in the Washington Post, only just this week has the Biden transition team been allowed in Operation Warp Speed meetings. Along with vaccination comes a need for approaches for the early-onset treatment of COVID-19. Incoming POTUS will lean on NIH and FDA for guidance.
Greater Federal Involvement in War on COVID-19
The incoming-POTUS considers the existing vaccination prioritization scheme an utter failure. A disjointed, fragmented, and state-by-state approach, he will apparently use the power of the federal government to rationalize and centralize the collaboration with states to determine those who should be at the top of the list for vaccination. Clearly, the consensus points to the elderly (65 and up) and essential frontline workers that could include school teachers.
This will require at least 100 federally-backed vaccination centers nationwide. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will establish these centers by the end of February. The incoming POTUS has declared the establishment of many thousands of vaccination centers at the community level; these may be set up in junior high or high school gymnasiums, community recreation centers and even the introduction of mobile vaccination units that will be used to go to the most at-risk communities in impoverished African American ghettos and Hispanic Barrios to Native American tribal lands, for example. Pockets of rural white poverty undoubtedly would be considered as well, from Appalachia to the West and the South.
TrialSite notes that this mobile access approach has been developed under the existing POTUS with companies such as Eli Lilly investing extensively, often in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). For example, TrialSite reported that Lilly and NIAID introduced mobile units during the Blaze-2 trial, targeting elderly centers.
Use of the Defense Production Act
TrialSite already reported that Biden would count on the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to accelerate the production of any needed supplies associated with mass vaccination, such as syringes and personal protective equipment. Commenting on the overall effort, Biden was quoted, “We will manage the hell out of this operation.”
Incoming POTUS to spend $400 Billion
Biden also was on the record that a sizable chunk of the relief package, $400 billion, will directly flow to pandemic combat. The feds will allocate $50 billion to intensify COVID-19 testing, $20 billion to support vaccination programs and money for the hire of necessary labor in the form of public health workers. Biden’s plan calls for the hiring of up to 100,000 of them. With hospitals, especially in rural areas, reporting on labor shortages, it is unclear where these 100,000 will come from.
But the Association of Public Health Laboratories endorses the initiative declaring in a press release, “We’re grateful that the plan recognizes testing as an important mitigation strategy in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and includes funding to increase our disease surveillance and sequencing capacity to better identify emerging variants and track its spread.”
What about Early-Onset Treatment?
Undoubtedly, the Biden administration will defer to the NIH, the FDA and other federal authorities for guidance on early-onset treatment prospects. These organizations look to the ongoing clinical trials for emerging evidence. TrialSite chronicles these studies for COVID-19 and other diseases that humankind seeks to treat and hopefully someday overcome.
Call to Action: TrialSite will objectively monitor how all of this unfolds.