Biden administration will stop buying Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and tests starting this fall, says Jha

“One of the things that we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about over the past few months – and we’re going to continue that work, and you’ll hear more from the administration about this – is getting us out of this phase of acute emergency where the US government buys the vaccines, buys the treatments, buys the diagnostic tests,” Jha said at an event sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“Hopefully in 2023 you’re going to see the commercialization of almost all of these products. Some of that is actually going to start this fall, in the days and weeks to come. You’re going to see the commercialization of some of these things “, he said.

The availability of these products would shift to the mainstream healthcare system, Jha said, so if you need a vaccine or antiviral treatment, you’ll get it from your doctor or a hospital.

In the spring, the Biden administration asked Congress for $10 billion to fund continued pandemic response efforts, but an agreement to pass the funding has stalled.

Jha said the funding impasse has forced officials to reallocate money from other efforts, such as building up testing supplies and protective equipment for the strategic national stockpile.

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Officials plan to use the money to purchase updated booster vaccines that protect against the BA.4 and BA.5 coronavirus subvariants, which Jha said would be ready by early to mid-September.

“I’d like to get to a point where every adult in America who wants a vaccine can get one. Hopefully we’ll get there. We’re not there yet in terms of how many doses of vaccine we’ve been able to. buy,” he said.

Jha said the transition to commercialization is complicated. It involves regulatory issues, market dynamics issues, and equity issues, but the administration is working carefully and thoughtfully to get it right.

“Right now anyone can walk into a CVS and get vaccinated. I want to make sure that when we make this transition, we don’t end up at a point where no one can get vaccinated because we don’t. we didn’t have the exact transition,” he said.

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Jha said some of the marketing will begin in the fall, but most will be visible in 2023.

He said it would be important for the government to continue to invest in the development of the next generation of vaccines and in pandemic preparedness.

“But this day-to-day pandemic management business, which has to transition, and we’re working very hard to make sure the transition is done in a very orderly and seamless way so that everyone sees it coming,” he said. -he declares.

A bad flu season expected

Jha urged all Americans to get the new boosters once they become available.

He pointed out that the fall and winter could be difficult in the United States if the flu returns, as expected.

“These are substantial improvements in our vaccines in terms of their ability to prevent infection to prevent transmission,” he said. “These vaccines are coming very, very soon. And so it will be very important that people this fall and winter get the new vaccine. It’s designed for the virus that’s out there. And again, based on everything we So far, all the data suggests it should be very effective against newer variants.”

The United States has seen little to no flu transmission over the past two years, largely due to Covid-19 mitigation measures like masking.

“I expect fall and winter to be a lot more like fall and winter 2019, with a lot less dimming,” Jha said.

“In normal times without a pandemic, the flu really stretches our healthcare system,” he said. “Throwing Covid on top of that, our healthcare system is going to be in serious trouble unless we’re very proactive about preventing it, if we don’t do anything and just hope for the best.”

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