Biden to ask Congress for new COVID vaccine funding, could require shot for everyone
President Joe Biden may require all U.S. citizens to get a new COVID-19 vaccine. He said on Friday that he had requested more funding from Congress to develop a new vaccine to defend against recent strands of the illness.
Biden—who is currently vacationing in Lake Tahoe—was asked on Friday about the apparent uptick in COVID cases. He responded by saying that he had “signed off this morning on a proposal we have to present to Congress a request for additional funding for a new vaccine that is necessary, that works,” according to the Associated Press.
“Tentatively it is recommended that it will likely be recommended everybody get it no matter whether they’ve gotten it before or not,” he added.
However, the $40 million funding request the White House sent to Congress on August 11 does not mention the development of a new COVID vaccine. Rather, it mentions more funding for Ukraine, U.S. disaster funds, and funding to improve enforcement on the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to stifle the flow of fentanyl into the country.
In 2022, the Biden administration asked Congress for $9.25 billion to fight COVID, but lawmakers turned down the request.
Officials are expecting the new COVID vaccine to contain one version of the omicron strain, known as XBB.1.5. Currently, the vaccinations only include the original COVID strain and last year’s most common omicron variants.
The Associated Press reported that for the week ending July 29, hospitalizations due to COVID were at 9,056. This represents an increase of about 12% from the week before. However, hospitalizations have not reached anywhere close to what they were when the pandemic began in 2020.
At its peak, COVID was reportedly responsible for 44,000 weekly hospital admissions in early January 2020.
On Wednesday, JP reported that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the new BA.2.86 lineage of COVID could be more capable or working around those who have been vaccinated. They did not say if the recent variants of the illness would be more serious than those discovered in the past.
The agency said it was still tracking the highly mutated lineage, which has been detected in the U.S., Israel, and Denmark. However, the agency noted that the spike in recent hospitalizations in the U.S. is not likely due to BA.2.86.
As COVID continues to mutate, there will be a need to update the vaccines.
Starting next month, people are expected to receive their annual COVID-19 shot. Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax are currently working on doses of the XBB update.
There is currently no timetable for when the new vaccine will be made available.
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