Biden-Harris Administration Unveils National COVID-19 Vaccine Plan, Names Additional Personnel to Response Team

Today, the incoming Biden-Harris Administration announced its plans for ramping up COVID-19 vaccine production and administration, as well as key personnel joining the Administration’s COVID-19 Response Team. Below, we detail these announcements:

COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

In its announcement, the Biden-Harris Administration acknowledged the ongoing challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, including the limited vaccine supply and issues with federal logistics. President-Elect Joe Biden proposed a series of actions to ensure that 100 million Americans are vaccinated within his first 100 days in office. These include:

  • Getting More People Vaccinated
    • Encouraging states to allow more people to be vaccinated, including individuals 65 and older and frontline workers
    • Ensuring equity throughout the vaccination process to reach those in hard-to-reach, marginalized communities
  • Creating More Vaccination Sites
    • Standing up new, federally-supported community vaccination centers nationwide with the support of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), clinical and non-clinical staff, contractors, the National Guard, and state and local teams
    • Fully reimbursing state deployment of the National Guard to support vaccinations and providing additional FEMA assistance
    • Launching mobile vaccination clinics and provider partnerships to reach underserved urban areas and rural communities
    • Making vaccines available in pharmacies as nearly 90 percent of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy
    • Launching a new partnership with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) nationwide to allow direct FQHC access to vaccines
    • Launching new models to serve high-risk individuals in congregate settings, including homeless shelters, jails, and institutions serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Increasing Supply
    • Ensuring a robust vaccine supply and spurring manufacturing, including using the Defense Production Act
    • Being a reliable partner for states by providing actionable data on vaccine allocation timelines and delivery
    • Increasing vaccine availability while maintaining a commitment to the two-dose schedule
  • Mobilizing More Personnel
    • Surging the public health workforce to support the vaccination effort, including by providing regulatory flexibilities for vaccinators
    • Mobilizing a public health jobs program to support the COVID-19 response, including by funding 100,000 public health workers for vaccine outreach and contact tracing activities
  • Ensuring Americans Have Information and Confidence
    • Launching a federally led, locally focused public education campaign, including a public education campaign to address vaccine hesitancy

During the rollout of the Biden-Harris Administration’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients noted, that the incoming Administration’s plan “is a fundamentally different approach from the Trump Administration.” The Biden-Harris Administration is anticipated to address the COVID-19 pandemic with “the full strength of the federal government,” working closely with local communities already engaged in response efforts.

Additional information on the incoming Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine plan is available here.

COVID-19 Response Team Personnel

Recently, the Biden-Harris Administration additionally announced a series of new appointments to its COVID-19 Response Team. These appointments include, among others:

  • David Kessler, Chief Science Officer of COVID Response – Dr. David Kessler serves as a co-chair of the COVID-19 Task Force for President-Elect Joe Biden and was previously the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 1990 to 1997 under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Dr. Kessler is a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
  • Andy Slavitt, Senior Advisor to the COVID Response Coordinator – Andy Slavitt served as the Acting Administration for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under President Barack Obama and helped lead the turnaround of the federal government’s website.
  • Bechara Choucair, Vaccinations Coordinator – Dr. Bechara Choucair serves as the senior vice president and chief health officer for Kaiser Permanente and has served as the California COVID-19 Testing Task Force Co-Chair. Choucair additionally served as the Chicago Public Health Commissioner from 2009 to 2014.

Additional information on the incoming Administration’s COVID-19 Response Team personnel is available here and here.