The Biden administration is doubling down on lawmakers to release $10 billion in funding to fight COVID-19. This comes as hundreds of millions of vaccines already bought for the effort go unused.
The Department of Health and Human Services has purchased nearly two billion COVID vaccine doses. HHS says nearly 730 million doses have been disbursed domestically and another 537 million internationally. The agency further reports having 275 million in its inventory.
Simple math shows that, along with the 275 million doses stockpiled, there are hundreds of millions more somewhere out there that have not been injected into arms.
The administration continues to sound the alarm that 100 million Americans may be infected this fall and winter without billions more in funding. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been 81 million total confirmed COVID-19 infections throughout the pandemic.
When pressed on the reasoning behind the 100 million forecast, White House officials say it is based on “inaction.” They add that this inaction is paired with lower immunity and diminished vaccine efficacy.
In other words, it is pulled out of a hat — Or elsewhere.
Still, outgoing press secretary Jen Psaki declared that COVID-19 will not wait for Republican members of Congress “to get their act together.” She also warned that the nation faces “severe consequences” for the stalled $22.5 billion plea.
Biden’s March request for $22.5 billion is now reduced to $10 billion, and the Senate agreed. However, senators said “no thanks” to $5 billion the White House wants for global vaccinations. Which makes sense considering that hundreds of millions of doses are sitting idly by.
That aid has already hit a snag as congressional Democrats attempt to attach it to the administration’s package to support Ukraine. Stay tuned.
The Biden White House pleaded for over $22 billion for COVID efforts but now says $10 billion will do. Then it’s revealed that hundreds of millions of doses are still not in arms. A clear message would go a long way towards some credibility for an administration that is fumbling its way along.