President Trump is preparing to sign an executive order stipulating that US-purchased COVID-19 vaccine doses go to Americans first.
Vaccine distribution is expected to begin as early as this week following a massive investment from the US government.
The US already ordered hundreds of millions of vaccine doses to distribute for free as part of the Trump administration’s $18 billion Operation Warp Speed.
“Tomorrow the president will sign an executive order on ensuring access to US government COVID-19 vaccines. It is a reaffirmation of the president’s commitment to America first, to ensure the health and safety of our citizens, the viability of our economy, the security of our nation and to ensure that Americans resume normal life,” said Brian Cavanaugh, senior director for resilience policy at the White House National Security Council.
“The next thing it does is tasks the State Department with USAID — the US
Agency for International Development — the National Development Finance Corporation [and] the Export-Import Bank to work collaboratively with [the Department of Health and Human Services] to find ways to help our partners, allies and other countries that are in need of vaccine with that path,” he said.
Trump will sign the executive order at a White House event Tuesday.
The action comes as other nations approve vaccine candidates. UK officials, for example, last week leapfrogged the US in approving a vaccine from Pfizer and German partner BioNTech.
The US Food and Drug Administration will meet Dec. 10 to evaluate a Nov. 20 application from Pfizer for its vaccine candidate, which clinical trials indicated is about 95 percent effective.
The US government in July placed an order for 100 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for $1.95 billion. The contract allows the US up to 500 million additional doses.
The FDA is also considering a vaccine application from Moderna. That vaccine also has about 95 percent efficacy, according to clinical trials. The US government purchased 100 million doses of the Moderna vaccine in August.
“The priority is to make sure we distribute these vaccines to Americans before we start shipping them around the world to get international access,” an official told Fox News.