Biden Seeks Additional Funds For New COVID Vaccine

President Joe Biden, on Friday, revealed his intention to request extra funding from Congress for the creation of a new COVID vaccine. He made this announcement while addressing reporters during his vacation in Lake Tahoe, California.

As reported by the Associated Press, Biden made the statement, “I signed off this morning on a proposal we have to present to the Congress a request for additional funding for a new vaccine that is necessary, that works. It will likely be recommended that everybody get it, no matter whether they’ve gotten it before or not.

Pfizer and Moderna are presently developing new vaccines to combat the emerging omicron variant, as certain scientists caution about a surge in COVID cases nationwide. By the end of July, COVID hospitalizations were slightly above 9,000, representing just a small portion of the admissions witnessed during the peak of COVID and subsequent waves of the delta and omicron variants. During an omicron surge in January 2022, approximately 150,000 individuals were hospitalized due to the virus.

A minor uptick in COVID cases has prompted several businesses and universities to reintroduce mask mandates. Despite having no reported COVID cases on campus, Morris Brown College in Atlanta is reimplementing a mask requirement. Similarly, Lionsgate film studio in California is reinstating mask mandates for specific Santa Monica offices. Lionsgate will institute a “building entry policy,” necessitating employees to conduct daily self-screenings before entering the office and report any new or worsening symptoms or recent international travel within the last 10 days.

The Biden administration aims for updated COVID vaccines to be accessible by late September. The revised shots from Pfizer, Moderna, and smaller producer Novavax are pending FDA approval and CDC recommendation.

A Biden administration spokesperson told reporters, “Vaccination is going to continue to be key this year because immunity wanes and because the COVID-19 virus continues to change. For those reasons, vaccines remain the best protection against hospitalization and death.”

This month, the White House urged Congress for $40 billion, yet this request excluded extra funding for COVID vaccines. Instead, the Biden administration sought over $24 billion for Ukraine, $12 billion to replenish disaster relief funds, and $4 billion for matters at the southern border, including housing undocumented immigrants.