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The United States does not have a plan to distribute a vaccine for the coronavirus "in a fair and equitable manner" when one becomes available, Rick Bright, a former health official ousted from his position last month, told the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday.

Why it matters: Bright, who led the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, cautioned that because one company cannot produce enough vaccine for the country, supply will be limited.

What he's saying: "We need to have a plan in place now to make sure that we can not only fill that vaccine, make it, distribute it, but administer it in a fair and equitable plan," he said.

  • Bright criticized the federal government's chaotic rollout of the coronavirus therapy drug remdesivir, which has been shown to help patients recover from the coronavirus more quickly than patients who receive no treatment.
  • "We have limited doses, and we haven't scaled-up production. And we don't have a plan on how to fairly and equitably distribute [remdesivir]."

The big picture: Bright said a vaccine may become available by "this fall, winter, or maybe even next spring." But he cautioned that the 12 to 18 month timeline that has been touted by some in the Trump administration is an "aggressive schedule."

Go deeper: The race to make vaccines faster

Go deeper

Biden says he would issue nationwide stay-at-home order in face of COVID-flu nightmare

Joe Biden accepts the Democratic Party nomination on Aug. 20. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden told ABC News on Friday that, if elected, he would issue a nationwide stay-at-home order at the recommendation of scientists if coronavirus infections surged in January alongside the flu season.

Why it matters: The country's coronavirus crisis could worsen this winter if hospitals are overwhelmed with patients requiring care from COVID-19 at the same time as the flu. The severity of the influenza season also depends on how many Americans get flu shots.

Aug 21, 2020 - Health

Trump administration blocks FDA from regulating lab-developed tests

Photo: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services this week blocked the Food and Drug Administration's ability to regulate lab-developed tests, including for the coronavirus, that have been produced by hundreds of hospitals.

What they're saying: The change prohibits the FDA from overseeing such tests before they're marketed without a detailed rule-making process. HHS said it is taking the action as part of broader Trump administration review of "duplicative actions and unnecessary policies."

Updated 24 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.