January 18, 2021

How Will The Biden Administration Handle COVID-19 Vaccination?

On January 15, President-elect Joe Biden provided more detail about his plan to get 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots to Americans within his first 100 days in office.

President-elect Biden said that, if necessary, he would invoke the Defense Production Act to ramp up vaccine production and then mobilize the National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and public health workers to give the federal government a bigger role in distribution. The plan also calls for the federal government to partner with states and local providers to launch community vaccination centers and to deploy mobile vaccination units in underserved and hard-to-reach areas. President-elect Biden also promised a national public education campaign and pushed states to let people 65 and older get the vaccine.

In related news: the outgoing Trump administration announced last week that it will recommend that U.S. states immediately offer the vaccine to anyone who is 65 or older, as well as people with preexisting health conditions. Trump administration officials also said that, rather than distribute vaccines based on a state’s population, it will allocate doses based on how quickly they can administer the shots, as well as on the size of the population over age 65.

As a reminder, in the United States, each 50 states and their local jurisdiction are in charge of deciding how vaccines are allocated and administered. That is why, in a free webinar offered to MSCI members in early January, Dr. Mark McClellan, former administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and a former FDA commissioner, urged industrial metals industry leaders to engage with their state and local lawmakers about vaccine distribution, and even to consider asking whether individual companies might be able to work with government officials to hold vaccination events. (MSCI members can find the webinar here.)

The National Association of Wholesalers and Littler Law Firm are both keeping track of each state’s distribution system. Click here and here to access those resources. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers also have provided additional information on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Click here to view the U.S. Chamber’s information and click here to access the NAM information.

In related news, the U.S. government also announced last week that international air passengers to the United States will be required to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flights, regardless of vaccination status. (As Connecting the Dots reported two weeks ago, Canada already has a similar requirement.)