The unprecedented spending during the COVID-19 pandemic was perhaps justifiable in the beginning. However, may more be coming even as the nation is into its third year of this.
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients lamented that the nation doesn’t “have enough money for fourth doses” of the COVID-19 vaccines, Fox Business reported. The administration is now pushing for more emergency funding.
“Right now, we don’t have enough money for fourth doses, if they’re called for – booster shots, additional booster shots for all Americans,” Zients said on “In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt” Monday. “We don’t have the funding if we were to need a variant-specific vaccine in the future,” he told the host.
Zients added that they don’t have money for the “very effective monoclonal treatments” either. “Already, we’ve had to cut back allocations to our state partners by 30%, so we preserve the inventory that we do have,” Zients said.
While the administration is pushing for more spending, both Democrats and Republicans have pushed back during this midterm election year. Though they jettisoned funding for the virus in the $1.5 trillion bill recently signed into law, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still pushing for $22.5 billion in additional coronavirus funding.
“It’s really Congress’ job now to provide those funds, to pass the $22.5 billion in emergency funds so that we can continue to keep Americans protected, prepare for whatever the virus could bring in the future, and continue our efforts to vaccinate the world,” Zients said. “And, without funding, we will be unprepared for that possibility of increased cases in severity and hospitalizations,” he warned.
“It’s really important that we invest now, have the tools, and be prepared for any possibility,” Zients said. The coronavirus coffers have been drained of 93% of the funds already allotted to pandemic spending.
It’s unclear whether a fourth shot will be necessary for all Americans, but it appears Democrats are laying the groundwork for more spending. However, this is getting harder to justify as the virus is on the wane.