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Biden to use Defense Production Act to help reach goals of COVID-19 vaccination plan

Joe Biden
Posted at 11:32 AM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 17:09:25-05

WILMINGTON, Del. – President-elect Joe Biden laid out his plan Friday for a national vaccination program and set a goal of administering 100 million shots by the end of his first 100 days in office.

Watch Biden's speech below:

During his remarks over his vaccination plan, Biden also said he plans to use the Defense Production Act to work with private industry to accelerate the making of materials needed to supply and administer the vaccines, from tubes and syringes to protective equipment.

“We’ve identified the suppliers and are prepared to work with their teams,” said Biden.

The national vaccination program is part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion “America Rescue Plan,” which he introduced on Thursday. The massive plan seeks to change the course of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, build a bridge towards economic recovery and invest in racial justice.

Biden’s proposal would invest $20 billion in the national vaccination program in partnership with states, localities, tribes and territories. It will include launching community vaccination centers around the U.S. and deploying mobile vaccination units to hard-to-reach areas.

The Biden administration says it will take action to ensure all people in the U.S. — regardless of their immigration status — can access the vaccine free-of-charge and without cost-sharing.

To help states ensure that all Medicaid enrollees will be vaccinated, Biden says he will also work with Congress to expand the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to 100% for the administration of vaccines.

Biden said during Friday’s speech that his team has identified five things the nation needs to do to overcome the pandemic.

1. States open vaccinations up to more priority groups
2. Open up more vaccination sites across the country
3. Activate pharmacies around US to vaccinate people as quickly as possible
4. Use full strength of federal government to ramp up supply of the vaccines
5. Government to be transparent with American people about updates

Additionally, Biden repeated his plans to encourage Americans to mask up for the first 100 days of his presidency.

“I will be issuing executive orders to require masks for federal workers, on federal property, and on interstate travel, like trains and planes,” said Biden. “We will also be working with mayors and governors in red states and blue states to require masks in cities and states.”

He acknowledged that wearing masks has become a partisan issue, but said it’s actually a "patriotic act."

“The experts say that by wearing a mask from now until April, we will save more than 50,000 lives,” said Biden. “Quite frankly, it was shocking to see members of Congress, while the Capitol was under siege by a deadly mob of thugs, refuse to wear a mask while they were in a secure location.”

Biden says he’s proud of Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, who tried to get everyone sheltering in place to mask up.

“But look what happened when they didn’t. At least four members of Congress to date, including a cancer survivor, now have COVID-19,” said Biden. “For God’s sake, wear a mask for yourself, for your loved ones, for your country. These are life and death matters.”

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