White House to cut funding for Covid testing to purchase vaccines for fall
The White House will divert more than $10 billion it had planned to spend on testing and PPE to buy new vaccines and treatments it anticipates needing this fall.
WASHINGTON — After failing to get additional Covid funding from Congress, the White House will divert more than $10 billion it had planned to spend on testing and personal protective equipment to buy new vaccines and treatments it anticipates needing this fall.
The redirected funds will enable the U.S. to start contract negotiations with vaccine-makers to order new shots for the fall, including next-generation vaccines the companies are in the process of developing, a White House official said in a statement.
But even with the redirected funds, the U.S. still won’t have enough money to purchase vaccines for every American who wants one, the official said.
The White House requested $22.5 billion for Covid funding from Congress in March as part of a wider spending bill. But the Covid money was removed after pushback from House members who said they wanted more transparency about how money already appropriated had been spent.
Since then, Democrats and Republicans have been in a stalemate for months over how much additional money for Covid should be provided and under what terms. As a result, the White House official said the administration is being forced to “cut corners” and make “unacceptable tradeoffs.”