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Biden Administration Launches $1.1 Billion Program for Coercing COVID-19 Vaccination Among Uninsured Americans

People who do not have health insurance will be encouraged or “coerced” to acquire the mRNA COVID-19 immunizations under a program that the Biden administration unveiled on Tuesday and which would cost $1.1 billion.

According to a fact sheet published by the White House, the two-pronged strategy intends to offer financial incentives to pharmacists, local health departments, and health facilities that get funding from the federal government in order to encourage them to recommend vaccinations to those with low incomes.

Due to the fact that the federal government has acquired COVID-19 vaccinations and some treatments for the purpose of distribution, they are currently available to all Americans at no cost. However, after the supply is gone, these items will migrate to the commercial market since Congress has rejected providing extra funding for the purchase of new supplies. Those who do not have health insurance will not have the same access to the vaccination as those who do have coverage, since most insured people will continue to get it for free.

A public-private collaboration with national and local pharmacies, which are responsible for the administration of the vast majority of adult COVID-19 vaccines, is going to be formed as part of the new program as one of its components. The cost of giving the vaccinations and treatments, including the antiviral drugs Paxlovid and Lagevrio, will be covered by the government in the form of a per-dose reimbursement that will be provided to the pharmacies. In addition, pharmacists have the opportunity to obtain one-time rewards for any location that targets areas with low immunization rates.

It will be the responsibility of pharmacies to do outreach to those who do not have health insurance and to collaborate with community organizations that assist populations who are not being served. On the other hand, it is difficult to predict how many pharmacies will take part in the program. The Department of Health and Human Services plans to begin working to develop contracts with pharmacies over the course of the next few months, with the ultimate goal of launching the program in the autumn.

The utilization of municipal health departments and health facilities that are financed by the federal government, both of which normally provide treatment for those who are uninsured, is the second component of the project. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be responsible for purchasing vaccinations for the aforementioned departments and centers, whilst the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSSA) would be in charge of facilitating the distribution of vaccines and treatments to its network of health facilities.

It is now unknown whether or not pharmaceutical companies will take part in the new effort.

This is despite the fact that these companies have previously stated their intention to make their patient support programs available to uninsured patients free of charge. The government plans to purchase the supplies at a discount, similar to how it does with other vaccine programs that are already in place.

Even while it is impossible to predict how many uninsured people will take advantage of the program, data that is already available suggests that not a lot of people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, especially among the uninsured. According to Jen Kates, who is the Senior Vice President at the Kaiser Family Foundation, it is thus extremely important to educate people about the availability of the program as well as the benefits it provides.

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