Dec 13, 2020 - Health

States brace for budget cuts in order to distribute COVID-19 vaccines

The Covid vaccines in boxes.

Shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine being loaded onto a plane in Lansing, Mich., Sunday. Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Some states expect to make cuts to essential parts of their budgets — like education, transportation and health care — in order to pay for coronavirus vaccine distribution, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: States say they need billions that they don't have to set up vaccination clinics, ensure storage capacity, organize community outreach and hire medical workers.

  • Meanwhile, increased funding for state and local governments is one of the most contentious aspects of a potential coronavirus relief package that is still being negotiated in Congress.

Driving the news: UPS and FedEx are set to deliver 2.9 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to about 150 locations in all 50 states by Monday, Operation Warp Speed's Gen. Gustave Perna said this weekend.

What they're saying: Some members of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which voted to recommend the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people 16 years and older, urged for more federal funding on Saturday.

  • Beth Bell, a member of ACIP and global health expert from the University of Washington, said, "the imbalance" of funds the federal government had put toward vaccine development compared to distribution "is really shocking and needs to be corrected because we are not going to be able to protect the American public if we don’t have a way to deliver the vaccines to them,” CNBC reports.
  • Pediatrician and ACIP member Peter Szilagyi highlighted the “need for substantially increased government funding to actually implement the recommendation.”
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