The Biden administration is using the Defense Production Act judiciously to ramp up the vaccination of US residents against the novel coronavirus, according to a statement released by Tim Manning, the supply coordinator for the administration. Manning said the government will be using the law to increase supplies for the production of COVID-19 vaccines, increase testing at home and other centers, and give more PPE to medical professionals.
“One of the shortcomings of the vaccination procedures we have been able to identify is the urgent need for more PPE, especially surgical gloves, for front-line workers,” Manning said. “We are already handling the issue with N95 masks and something needs to be urgently done about gloves too.”
Manning said that all the surgical gloves being used are imported and the administration is working towards correcting that to ensure that reliance on other countries for something so essential is drastically reduced. He said the administration is also looking towards drastically and safely speeding up the production of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Through the DPA, the administration will also be able to order more COVID-19 tests that can be used by individuals in their houses and at other facilities. Manning said more COVID-19 tests will be carried out if more Americans can do the tests in their homes. He added that about 61 million of the special test strips will be ready before summer ends, CNN reports.
The administration is also deploying over 1,000 troops to new vaccination points around the country. Lloyd Austin, Secretary of the Department of Defense, said the department has approved the deployment and in less than two weeks, the first batch of troops will be in California towards starting work on February 15. The troops will be sent to the newly opened vaccination points in LA and Oakland, two of the regions that took the hardest hit in the country.
Biden plans to open more sites in the coming days, reaching about 100 new vaccination points in early March. The plans are in line with his pledge to ensure that over 100 million doses of the vaccine are administered before April when he would have spent 100 days as the President of the United States. Experts have estimated that more than 100 million doses will be needed by that time to keep Americans safe from the new strains of the virus.
The troops will join the troops from the National Guard that are helping to speed up vaccination procedures in the 175 vaccination points currently available in different parts of the country. The administration also plans to order 200 million doses each of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine to add to the 400 million doses contract already in place.