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This fall, the U.S. will limit Covid vaccines for high-risk people unless Congress approves more funding

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According to a senior Biden administration official, the U.S. will have to limit the next generation of Covid vaccines this fall to those most at risk of getting the virus seriously if Congress does not approve funding to buy new vaccines.

An official speaking on condition of anonymity warned that the United States is facing significant growth Coronavirus covid infection infections on this day are falling as immunity from current vaccines weakens and the omicron variant mutates into more transmissible subvariants. The U.S. is demanding more money for next-generation vaccines, therapies and tests to prevent infections from turning into hospitalizations and deaths, the official said.

Pfizer and Modern develop recycled vaccines targeting mutations of the omicron variant to enhance protection against infection. Current footage continues to focus on the original strain of the virus, which first appeared in Wuhan, China, in 2019. As the virus has evolved over the past two years, vaccines have become less effective in preventing lung disease, although they tend to still protect against severe disease.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide no later than early summer whether the U.S. should switch to redesigned vaccinations for the fall vaccination campaign, and its advisory committee is scheduled to meet on June 28 to discuss the issue.

However, the U.S. is currently short of money to purchase new staff for everyone in the U.S. ahead of the fall, the official said. The U.S. Senate has so far been unable to allocate $ 10 billion in additional Covid funding for vaccines, therapies and trials, despite Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah, concluded deal in early April. The Senate agreement of $ 10 billion is less than half of the $ 22.5 billion that the White House originally requested.

“We will be able to get some new generation vaccines, but it will be very limited and really only for those at greatest risk, but it will not be available to everyone,” the official said. The elderly and people with weak immune systems are at the highest risk of severe disease from Covid.

Congress must take funding over the next few weeks to ensure that contract negotiations between the federal government and vaccine manufacturers are at an advanced stage by July, the official said. However, Republicans in the Senate have vowed to block the money if the White House does not restore Title 42, which allowed the U.S. to reject asylum seekers at the country’s borders during a pandemic.

Even if the money comes in, it is unclear whether vaccine manufacturers will be able to make enough injections by the fall, given how short the timeframe is. Moderna CEO Stefan Bansel told CNBC last week that it is very difficult for any biotech company to have tens of millions of doses ready by the fall unless they order supplies and start production by July.

“If you look at the timing, I don’t think any producer will be able to be ready in August to fill the channel with products,” said Bansel Meg Tyrell of CNBC. The last U.S. government contract for a vaccine against Covid with Moderna expired in April.

Pfizer CEO Albert Burla told CNBC last week that the pharmaceutical giant would be ready to begin production of doses of its next-generation vaccine as soon as it receives instructions from the FDA.

The U.S. also needs more money for testing to make sure the country has enough capacity for the fall, the official said, warning that domestic producers are now shutting down production lines. Without funding, the U.S. would depend on test makers in other countries, particularly China, the official said.

“It’s going to be a pretty tough fall and winter if Congress gives up its responsibilities and doesn’t show up with funding for the American people,” the official said. “We will do everything we can, but in the end we will be handcuffed.”

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