Biden outlines U.S. COVID-19 vaccine plan

By Jonna Lorenz
Biden outlines U.S. COVID-19 vaccine plan
Joe Biden holds up his face mask during the final presidential debate on October 22, 2020. The president-elect detailed a five-point COVID-19 vaccine plan Friday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI . | License Photo

Jan. 15 (UPI) -- President-elect Joe Biden on Friday detailed his plan to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines.

He said the plan will expand access to more people, create more vaccination sites, mobilize more people to administer vaccines, ramp up production, and increase transparency and public education.


"The vaccine rollout in the United States has been a dismal failure so far," Biden said. "The honest truth is this: Things will get worse before they get better, and the policy changes we are going to be making, they're going to take time to show up in the COVID statistics."

Friday's announcement comes as the global deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 2 million and a day after the president-elect said he would push for a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, including $1,400 payments to Americans, and administer 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office.

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Biden said he will work with states to expand access to vaccines to more priority groups, including people age 65 and older, a demographic that has accounted for 80% of COVID-19 deaths, along with frontline workers.

Biden emphasized his aim to ensure equity of distribution among Black, Latino and Native American communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.


The plan calls for more vaccination sites to be set up by Federal Emergency Management Agency at places such as school gymnasiums and sports stadiums in communities that are hardest hit by the pandemic along with mobile clinics.

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Biden promised to mobilize thousands of people, including retired military medical professionals and first responders, to administer the vaccinations.

Plans also include a program to fully activate pharmacies throughout the country to administer vaccines.

To ramp up supply of the vaccine and equipment, Biden said he would invoke the Defense Production Act to work with private industry and has asked his staff to begin identifying suppliers who are able to help.

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Biden promised transparency about all vaccine-related developments and decisions, and said scientists with the Food and Drug Administration would be free of political influence, independent and speak directly to the American people. A public education campaign will be launched to address vaccine hesitancy and build trust.

The president-elect said he would issue an executive order requiring masks where he has the authority, such as in federal workplaces and on trains and airplanes involved in interstate travel. He also will work with state and local authorities to encourage mask wearing and other measures such as hand washing, social distancing and avoiding indoor gatherings.


"This is about saving lives," Biden said. "I know it's become a partisan issue, but what a stupid, stupid thing to happen. This is a patriotic act we're asking you. We're in a war with this virus."

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He criticized Republican lawmakers who refused to wear masks while locked down at the U.S. Capitol last week.

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