Trump to order priority access to US COVID-19 vaccines for Americans - GulfToday

Trump to order priority access to US COVID-19 vaccines for Americans


Trump campaigns for Republican US senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, in Valdosta, Georgia. File/Reuters

Gulf Today Report

President Donald Trump aims to take credit on Tuesday to sign an executive order to ensure that priority access for COVID-19 vaccines to the American people.

The speedy development of forthcoming coronavirus vaccines, even as his administration is coming under scrutiny for failing to lock in a chance, he (Trump) is eager to take credit for the distribution of a vaccine.

One official said the executive order would lead to the formulation of guidelines for US government agencies to help other countries procure the vaccine once demand in the United States was met.

US-virus-bill-main2-750A man wearing a face mask takes a walk on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade in New York. File/AFP

The revelation, confirmed Monday by people familiar with the matter, came on the eve of Trump's plans to host a White House summit aimed at celebrating the expected approval of the first vaccine later this week. His administration is seeking to tamp down public skepticism over the vaccine and secure a key component of the president's legacy.

The White House is holding a summit on Tuesday to explain plans for vaccine distribution through Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, which has been organizing the effort. Trump and other officials will speak.

The Trump administration is confident it will have enough vaccine to inoculate everyone who wants a vaccine by the end of the second quarter of 2021, one official said, disputing a “New York Times” story that the government declined when Pfizer Inc offered in late summer to sell more vaccine doses to the United States.


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A White House official said the companies were not coming because they had active applications pending before the US Food and Drug Administration. A senior FDA official, Dr Peter Marks, is scheduled to address the Tuesday event.

Invitees at the meeting include drug distributors, pharmacies and logistics companies such as McKesson Corp, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, CVS Health Corp, United Parcel Service Inc and FedEx Corp.

The New York Times reported that Pfizer may not be able to provide more of its vaccine to the United States until next June because of its commitments to other countries.

An administration official noted that Pfizer’s vaccine was still in clinical trials last summer and that the government secured advanced deals to acquire multiple other vaccine candidates.

“Anyone who wanted to sell us, guaranteed without an EUA (FDA emergency use authorization) approval, hundreds of millions of doses back in July and August was just not going to get the government’s money,” the person added.

President Donald Trump points to a reporter as he speaks about the coronavirus. File/AP

About 85 percent of long-term care and assisted living facilities around the country had signed up for a mobile vaccination service provided by CVS and Walgreens, the official said. The US government was concerned about cyber attacks related to the vaccine and had protected itself against them, he added.

Pfizer spokeswoman Sharon Castillo said: “The US government placed an initial order of 100 million doses for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, and Pfizer is ready to begin shipping initial doses soon after receiving an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. Any additional doses beyond the 100 million are subject to a separate and mutually acceptable agreement.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told NBC News the US government had the option to purchase an additional 500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine but declined to say whether the administration was pursuing that option.

Representatives from Democratic President-elect Biden’s transition team were not invited to the summit. Trump, a Republican who lost the Nov.3 election to Biden, has refused to concede

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