President Joe Biden stated on Friday that he intends to request additional funding from Congress in order to develop a new coronavirus vaccine, as scientists monitor new waves and hospitalizations rise, though not to the same extent as in the past.
Officials are already anticipating updated COVID-19 vaccines containing the XBB.1.5 version of the omicron strain. Current combination injections incorporate the original coronavirus strain with the most common omicron variants from the previous year. As the virus continues to mutate, however, there will always be a demand for updated vaccines.
When individuals can begin rolling up their sleeves for what officials hope will be an annual fall COVID-19 vaccination remains unclear. Pfizer, Moderna, and the smaller manufacturer Novavax are all developing doses of the XBB update, but each must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can issue recommendations for their use.
Biden, who is on vacation in the Lake Tahoe region, told reporters on Friday, “I signed off this morning on a proposal we have to present to Congress requesting additional funding for a new vaccine that is necessary and effective.”
Once the vaccinations are available, he added, it is “probable” that “everyone” will receive them.
White House Funding Request Excludes COVID-19, Focuses on Other Priorities
COVID-19 was not mentioned in the $40 billion funding request sent to Congress by the White House on August 11. IIt included funding requests for Ukraine, to replenish federal disaster funds in the United States after a deadly climate season of heat and storms, and to strengthen enforcement at the southern frontier with Mexico, including money to prevent the flow of deadly fentanyl. Congress denied the administration’s request for $9.25 billion in funding to combat the pandemic last autumn.
For the week ending July 29, there were 9,056 COVID-19 hospital admissions. This represents a 12 percent increase from the previous week. It is, however, a significant departure from previous peaks, including the 44,000 weekly hospital admissions in early January, the nearly 45,000 in late July 2022, and the 150,000 admissions during the omicron surge in January 2022.