President Trump is set to sign an executive order Tuesday that will ensure all Americans have access to the COVID-19 vaccine before the U.S. government begins aiding nations around the world.
Senior administration officials told Fox News Monday that the president will reemphasize to the American people that the “priority has been an America First approach,” during a vaccine summit at the White House Tuesday.
The news of the executive order comes just days ahead of the Food and Drug Administration’s Thursday meeting regarding Pfizer and BioNTech’s application for emergency authorization of their coronavirus vaccine, three weeks after the companies filed for it. The FDA also plans to meet on Dec. 17 to discuss Moderna’s vaccine. A source close to the White House Coronavirus Task Force told Fox News last week that the Pfizer-BioNTech authorization could come as early as Friday…
“The priority is to make sure we distribute these vaccines to Americans before we start shipping them around the world to get international access,” an official told Fox News, predicting that international assistance could come “late spring, early summer,” and after they “achieve vaccinating those who have a desire to be vaccinated.” The official said that the executive order is “clear and is directing that we prioritize access to the American people before working with partners and allies to provide access to the vaccine.”
“We will very soon have highly effective COVID-19 vaccines to the American people,” another official told Fox News, adding that the vaccines are “critical to ensuring the health and safety of our citizens, viability of the economy and the security of our nation.”
The order will direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to prioritize distribution of the vaccines to Americans, at speeds “unseen before.”
The order will also be accompanied by a framework for international access to COVID-19 vaccines, which will provide guidelines for how USAID, HHS, the Export-Import Bank, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corp interacts with foreign countries to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
For countries that are not as financial well-off, the senior administration official said that they will “leverage resources to help them to procure the vaccine” and garner “ancillary supplies necessary to administer and track.” The order will also call for work with organizations focused on donation of resources, so that the U.S. government can be sure to aid in low-income countries — specifically Gavi, the vaccine alliance, which will work with USAID to support “92 low to low-middle income countries.”
Meanwhile, the officials said that Operation Warp Speed, the public-private partnership President Trump created earlier this year in an effort to create vaccines against the novel coronavirus, is working with six vaccine candidates — two of which have already filed for FDA emergency use authorization.
MacDailyNews Take: Again, we’re very hopeful that the various COVID-19 vaccines will arrive on a widespread basis even more quickly than many thought possible earlier this year as the U.S.’s Operation Warp Speed accelerates the development and, importantly, the manufacture of millions of doses by funding steps to proceed simultaneously versus the usual, significantly slower sequential process.
Obviously, the quicker we can get to a post-COVID-19 world, the better it is for everyone, including Apple, which has done very well during the pandemic, but stands to do even better once the company’s 500+ retail stores, more than half of which are in the U.S, are once again open for business as usual!