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U.S Plans to Invest Billions in Expanding Manufacturing of COVID19 Vaccines

U.S Plans to Invest Billions in Expanding Manufacturing of COVID19 Vaccines

COVID virus is surging

Reuters is reporting that the United States plans to invest billions of dollars in expanding COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity and make available an additional one billion doses per year, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday. Zients said the government was preparing to offer makers of the mRNA vaccines substantial help to expand infrastructure and capacity, including facilities, equipment, staff, or training. In the short term, the program would make a significant amount of COVID-19 vaccine doses available at cost for global use. In the long term, it would help establish sustained domestic manufacturing capacity to rapidly produce vaccines for future threats, Zients said.

The investment in vaccine production is part of a private-public partnership to address vaccine needs at home and around the world and to prepare for future pandemics, he said. It will be paid for with funds from the American Rescue Plan Biden signed into law in March. Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are the only makers of mRNA vaccines, though Zients said subcontractors of those companies would also be included.

A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to a teenager at West Philadelphia High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Tuesday, August 4, 2021. Photographer: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg

Activists have pressured President Joe Biden’s administration to increase vaccine supply to poorer countries. In the short term, the program would make a significant amount of COVID-19 vaccine doses available at cost for global use. In the long term, it would help establish sustained domestic manufacturing capacity to rapidly produce vaccines for future threats, Zients said.

Zients said 80% of Americans 12 and older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, highlighting a milestone in efforts to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

He also said 2.6 million kids aged 5-11 will have received their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of Wednesday.

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