US President Joe Biden said Wednesday the US government will not be able to afford to give Americans the Covid-19 booster shot he received on camera Wednesday unless Congress steps forward to seek more funding to provide vaccines, tests and treatments, and other Covid-19 requirements.
Warning that the US has reached a “critical tipping point” in the fight against coronavirus, Mr Biden said lawmakers’ failure to include funding for Covid-19 in the fiscal 2022 budget bill he signed into law earlier this month have had negative consequences.
He explained that the federal government had to restrict the purchase of life-saving monoclonal antibody treatments and cut supplies distributed to the states.
“Without further funding, we will run out of them by the end of May,” he said.
While lawmakers initially planned to authorize more Covid funds in the FY22 budget, that section was scrapped by House and Senate leaders over fears it would trigger a Republican filibuster and cause government shutdown could.
Mr Biden also said the government has scaled back plans to buy “preventive therapies” for immune-compromised Americans, which he described as “critical tools to protect the most vulnerable among us”.
He said funding for these treatments could run out by the fall and warned that the US will not be able to sustain programs providing Covid testing after June this year without an influx of federal funds.
“It’s not biased, it’s medicine,” he said. “If we don’t invest, we’re making ourselves vulnerable if another wave of the virus hits.”
Referring to the Covid-19 boosters, the President said the government could fund a fourth Covid-19 vaccine for people aged 50 and over, calling the newly approved vaccine “crucial in providing an additional level of protection”.
“If you haven’t received your first refresher yet, please don’t wait. do it today Those 50 years and older, as well as those who are immunocompromised, can get it now and get more protection than the first doses,” he said.
However, Mr Biden warned that government supplies will not go beyond the original eligibility group of over 50.
“Unless Congress acts, this fall we won’t have the supplies we need to ensure the recordings are free and easily accessible to all Americans.” Worse, if we need another vaccine in the future to fight a new variant, we won’t have enough money to buy it,” he said. “We can’t let this happen… we can’t wait to find ourselves in the midst of another wave of action. It will be too late”.
“We’ve all worked so hard to get our lives back … together we’ve turned unimaginable pain into extraordinary progress and purpose — Americans are living their lives again,” Mr. Biden said. “We can’t give that up now. Congress, please act – you must act now. The consequences of inaction are severe, they only increase over time, but it doesn’t have to be that way.”