The plan also sets goals for vaccination – including 100 million shots in the administration’s first 100 days. President Biden had already previewed his goals for vaccination, including setting up mass vaccination sites and mobile vaccination sites. During his remarks, Mr. Biden said that he had already directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to begin setting up the vaccination centers.
The administration is also going to look into improving reimbursement for giving vaccines. As a start, the HHS will ask the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to consider if a higher rate “may more accurately compensate providers,” according to the Biden plan.
“But the brutal truth is it will take months before we can get the majority of Americans vaccinated,” said Mr. Biden.
As part of the goal of ensuring an equitable pandemic response, the president will sign an order that establishes a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. The task force is charged with providing recommendations for allocating resources and funding in communities with inequities in COVID-19 outcomes by race, ethnicity, geography, disability, and other considerations.
Finally, the administration has committed to being more transparent and sharing more information. The national plan calls for the federal government to conduct regular, expert-led, science-based public briefings and to release regular reports on the pandemic. The administration said it will launch massive science-based public information campaigns – in multiple languages – to educate Americans on masks, testing, and vaccines, and also work to counter misinformation and disinformation.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) applauded Mr. Biden’s initiative. “If enacted, this bold legislative agenda will provide much-needed support to American families struggling during the pandemic – especially communities of color and those hardest hit by the virus,” Ada D. Stewart, MD, AAFP president, said in a statement.
Dr. Stewart also noted that family physicians “are uniquely positioned in their communities to educate patients, prioritize access, and coordinate administration of the COVID-19 vaccines,” and urged the administration to ensure that family physicians and staff be vaccinated as soon as possible, to help them “more safely provide care to their communities.”
A version of this article first appeared on Medscape.com.