Local health experts on President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine plan

Cavanaugh on Biden COVID-19 plan

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -President Biden says his plan to fight COVID-19 is based on science, not politics.

At the local level, the president’s plan to combat the virus is preliminary. Throughout Biden’s entire campaign leading to his role as president, he never shied away from his plan to take a more aggressive approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thursday, the president signed 15 executive actions--one of them being to ramp up vaccinations.

“The rollout has been a dismal failure thus far,” Biden said.

Region 5 Medical Director Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh says the president’s plan to ramp up vaccinations and testing is dependent on the vaccine’s manufacturers.

“We don’t have enough vaccine available yet, we have way more places willing to receive the vaccine than there is product right now.”

Although some may feel the vaccine rollout is going slower than expected, Dr. Cavanaugh said our region is pretty much on schedule.

“So, we are actually one of the states that are on the top ends of the list in terms of the amount of vaccine that we’ve received... that we’ve been able to administer,” said Dr. Cavanaugh.

President Joe Biden proposed $20 billion for a national vaccination program and wants 100 million Americans vaccinated in his first 100 days in office, along with 100 federal vaccination sites set up by the end of February.

It’s unclear right now if Louisiana is being considered for one of those locations.

According to the CDC, Louisiana ranks 18 in terms of doses administered.

Click here to view Louisiana’s ranking in comparison with other states, as recorded by the CDC.

So far, over 93,000 doses of COVID vaccines have been sent to nursing homes across the state. Dr. Cavanaugh says most long-term care facilities in region 5 have administered initial doses to staff and patients.

“CVS has administered 10,807 doses, Walgreens has administered 9,443 doses. So, combined a little over 20,000 doses,” said Dr. Cavanaugh.

As far as the vaccine being administered to those 65 and older, per the CDC’s latest guidance...

“So, really the CDC opened the gates really wide and there’s not nearly enough vaccine for all those groups to receive it in the real near future. It’s going to take time for that to ramp up,” Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh says in the long term, the hope is that the supply of the vaccine will increase to the point where they can host mass vaccination sites. No clear timeline yet though as to when that could happen.

The president’s plan lays out a number of measures to combat the virus that include making testing widely available and free. He also wants to restore the National Security Council Director for Global Health...that position was eliminated by the Trump administration in 2018.

The Biden Plan calls for:

  • Restoring trust, credibility, and common purpose.
  • Mounting an effective national emergency response that saves lives, protects frontline workers, and minimizes the spread of COVID-19.
  • Eliminating cost barriers for prevention of and care for COVID-19.
  • Pursuing decisive economic measures to help hard-hit workers, families, and small businesses and to stabilize the American economy.
  • Rallying the world to confront this crisis while laying the foundation for the future.

To read the full National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, click HERE.

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