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COVID-19: Biden launches national immunisation strategy, describes US vaccine rollout ‘dismal failure’

United States President Joe Biden Launches National Vaccine Roll Out Strategy Photo: ABCNews

*Dr. Anthony Fauci, US foremost infectious disease expert and Biden’s Chief Medical Adviser, commends the President’s willingness to ‘let the Science speak’

 *Leading consumer advocates express delight about how President Joe Biden administration’s fresh proposals as he tackles the country’s economic crisis with a flurry of Executive Orders

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

As the novel Coronavirus continues to infect and kill thousands of Americans daily, and as part of his 100 million vaccinations in 100 days plan, United States (US) President Joe Biden has launched a definitive national vaccine rollout strategy or approach as one of his administration’s first orders of business.

ConsumerConnect reports President Biden, who activated the national vaccine rollout master plan entitled: “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness” Thursday, January 21, 2021, in the White House, said efforts would be geared towards speeding up the rollout of the Coronavirus vaccine into the people’s hands.

When unveiling the sweeping measures to battle COVID-19 on his first full day in office Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s Chief Medical Adviser, commended President Biden’s willingness to “let the Science speak” in contrast to the Trump administration.

Dr. Fauci, Biden’s Chief Medical Adviser, resumes COVID press briefings in the White House   Photo: NBCNews

Biden said he was stepping up the Federal response to the virus including by taking steps to expand testing and vaccinations and increase mask-wearing.

He stated: “This is a wartime undertaking,” at the White House event where he signed executive orders to establish a COVID-19 testing board to ramp up testing, address supply shortfalls, establish protocols for international travellers and direct resources to hard-hit minority communities among others.

The pandemic has killed 410,378 people and infected more than 24 million in the United States, as of Friday, January 22, 2021, the highest numbers anywhere in the world, according to report.

Fauci, who served under Trump but has been promoted to Biden’s Chief Medical Adviser, was at Biden’s side during the event to resume COVID press briefings from Thursday.

The American leading scientist disclosed that he was “uncomfortable” at times during the Trump administration.

He referred to comments about the drug Hydroxycloroquine, which Trump boosted as a treatment for COVID-19 before its efficacy had been proved, that they “were not based on scientific fact.”

“I take no pleasure at all in being in a situation of contradicting the president,” said Fauci, adding that he felt free under Biden to speak without “repercussions.”

The foremost American infectious disease expert added: “The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence, what the science is, and know that’s it – let the science speak – it is somewhat of a liberating feeling.

“One of the new things in this administration is if you don’t have the answer, don’t guess. Just say you don’t know the answer.”

Incidentally, the government had supplied 37, 950,000 vaccine doses for immunisation of the American people against the damaging disease.

However, a little over 17, 000,000 of the doses were administered by the Donald Trump administration before the new administration took office Wednesday, January 20, according to CNN report.

Biden Thursday described the national vaccine rollout as a “dismal failure thus far”.

Recall the new President announced last week that he plans to adopt a national approach in an effort at vaccinating 100 million people in the first 100 days of his administration, as the current vaccination rates are said to be “very low” across the US.

Hitherto, a number of states in the country have asked for more vaccine doses and complained of supply and distribution bottlenecks.

The Trump administration largely, had purportedly left logistics up to 50 individual states to manage as Americans continue to die of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic in thousands daily. Biden has proposed more of a national approach now.

As a first step, the Biden administration has proposed organising retail pharmacies to become vaccination centres, along with using the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to establish mass vaccination centres at large venues across the country.

In the meantime, leading consumer advocates have expressed satisfaction about what they have observed thus far, as the Biden administration endorsed many policy changes and executive actions, many of which will affect consumers.

Biden, in a statement shortly before his inauguration Wednesday, said: “Our administration will hit the ground running to deliver immediate, urgent relief to Americans; confront the overlapping crises of COVID-19, the historic economic downturn, systemic racism and inequality, and the climate crisis; and get this government working for the people it serves.

“These tireless public servants will be a key part of our agenda to build back better — and I am confident they will help make meaningful change and move our country forward.”

Another big change from the past four years may come in the form of financial regulation.

Biden has tapped Rohit Chopra, the former student loan ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), to be that agency’s Executive Director.

Chopra, who is a current commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is a close ally of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and consumer advocates were quick to applaud the choice.

Ashley Harrington, senior counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending, said she believes having Chopra at the helm will likely have positive effects for student loan borrowers.

Harrington said: “Commissioner Chopra has long fought for financial markets that are fair for consumers, including student loan borrowers.

“We are encouraged that the CFPB will now return to its mission of protecting people’s finances, which has heightened significance in this economic downturn, and which includes a strong fair lending programme.

Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, in a statement said: “Consumers can rest just a little bit easier knowing that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will not just be on their side, but aggressively establishing rules to stop rip-offs and enforcing the rules against financial cheats and scamsters.”

President Biden has also called for wiping out $10,000 in student debt per borrower. He’s expected to push for it, again, in an economic relief bill likely to be proposed February 2021.

Among the highest-profile initiatives for consumers, Biden has proposed to send every American $1,400 additional payment to supplement the $600 contained in the end-of-the-year stimulus package bill estimated at $1.9billion.

However, he will need the cooperation of Congress to do that.

In instantly unwinding his predecessor’s policies on especially immigration, climate, students’ loans, and other issues evening Wednesday, January 20, 2021, the President signed 15 Executive Orders and two other action items for immediate execution.

It was gathered these Executive Orders involve practical actions to reverse US withdrawals from the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organisation (WHO), and stop construction of a border wall between the country and Mexico among several others.

Some of the directives would “help change the course of the COVID crisis” and the actions on racial equity “are all starting points,” said Biden.

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