On Thursday, President-Elect Joe Biden announced a $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal. The plan allocated billions of dollars of funding to improve the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, including “$20 billion for a national vaccination program; $30 billion for purchasing supplies and protective gear; and $50 billion for a scaled-up diagnostic testing program.” It will also fund the hiring of 100,00 public health workers, expand community health centers, and provide support to long-term care facilities. The package also includes funding for $1,400 stimulus payments, unemployment aid, subsidies for health insurance premiums, additional assistance for small businesses, and more.
Additionally, to speed up the vaccination process, the Trump Administration announced on Tuesday that it would release millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses previously held in reserve and encouraged states to vaccinate “all of their most vulnerable people,” namely those over 65 and those under 65 with chronic health conditions. And on Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives voted 232-197 to impeach President Trump a second time, charging him with “incitement of insurrection.”
And on Tuesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule establishing a Medicare coverage pathway to provide Medicare beneficiaries nationwide with faster access to “new, innovative medical devices designated as breakthrough by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).” The final rule is effective on March 15, 2021.
In Massachusetts, the Baker Administration posted guidance that outlines the process for employers to apply to be a vaccination site for their employees. The guidance only applies to employers that plan to vaccinate more than 200 employees and smaller entities are encouraged to work through their local board of health, a local health provider, or pharmacy. As it stands now, there are no details stating that a vaccination distribution site will change employees’ vaccination priority order. MassBio is seeking further clarification. Related to Massachusetts’ vaccination rollout, the Baker Administration recently updated their vaccine priority list to include medical supply chain workers under Phase 2.
On Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as 47th president of the United States and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will become the country’s first female vice president, first African American vice president, and first Asian American vice president.
In Massachusetts, Gillette Stadium opened on Monday as the state’s first mass vaccination site for first responders. The site is expected to administer 300 vaccines per day, with hopes of getting up to 5,000 per day.