The Biden Administration is letting it be known that, if the nation does not get a requested $22 billion in supplemental Congressional funding for Covid, there will be “fewer vaccines, treatments and tests for the American people.”
A senior administration official told multiple outlets today that modeling shows 100 million Americans will be infected with Covid this fall and winter if Congressional funding for booster shots, antiviral treatments, testing and surveillance is not approved. That’s nearly a third of all U.S. residents. The number is a “median range” according to the official. Another wild card is that these projections do not account for new variants of any consequence.
Between 130 and 140 million Americans were infected during last winter’s deadly Omicron wave. This fall, the surge is expected to stretch out over a longer time period.
Per The Hill, “The senior administration official said the contingency plan if Congress does not provide new money is to take all funding out of testing, new treatments and vaccine education and outreach, and try to pile it up to have enough to maybe be able buy enough updated vaccines only for the elderly.”
Orders for vaccines and booster shots must be made now so they will be on hand by the start of fall. At this time, “if additional booster shots are authorized and recommended for the general population, we will not have the supply necessary to provide free and easy access to them for all Americans,” according to the W.H. release. It’s the kind of planning experts do every year to combat the seasonal flu.
It makes fiscal sense, too, according to a fact sheet put out by the White House last week which claims that over 2 million lives have been saved and $900 billion in health care costs have been averted thus far though such efforts.