January 19, 2021
As COVID-19 continues to surge across the United States and a more contagious variant of the virus threatens to further strain the U.S. healthcare system, President-Elect Joe Biden is calling for a massive federal government mobilization to speed distribution of approved COVID-19 vaccines. With his proposed national vaccination plan, Biden is seeking to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in his administration’s first 100 days. In a pair of speeches on January 14 and 15, 2021, Biden announced his intention to establish thousands of federally supported community vaccination centers and mobile clinics and to mobilize thousands of additional personnel to aid the distribution effort. To support the national vaccination plan, Biden is asking Congress for an additional $20 billion as part of a broader relief package. If implemented, Biden’s plan would represent a dramatic shift from the Trump administration’s decentralized, state-by-state approach to COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Key Elements of the Biden Plan
Establish Thousands of Federally Supported Community Vaccination Centers and Mobile Vaccination Clinics
President-Elect Biden’s plan would call on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state and local governments, tribal governments and the private sector to establish thousands of federally supported community vaccination centers. Biden envisions converting facilities such as school gymnasiums, sports stadiums and community centers across the country to that purpose. In his January 15 speech, Biden promised that 100 of these centers would be established by the end of his first month in office.
Additionally, Biden is promising to deploy mobile clinics in partnership with community health centers and local primary care doctors to distribute vaccines to hard-to-reach communities in both urban and rural areas.
Mobilize Additional Vaccine Distribution Personnel
To assist in Biden’s national mobilization effort, the federal government would deploy or finance the mobilization of additional personnel in both clinical and nonclinical capacities. Biden would deploy personnel from FEMA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, military medical personnel and first responders.
Additionally, Biden would expand the list of professionals qualified to administer vaccines to include retired healthcare workers.
Biden also vowed that his administration would reimburse states for 100 percent of the cost of deploying their national guards to assist in vaccine distribution efforts.