President-elect Joe Biden will invoke the Defense Production Act when he takes office next month to increase the production of the coronavirus vaccine.
The law, typically used for wartime, allows the president the ability to prioritize manufacturing for national security and could help the U.S. secure necessary equipment and products that manufacturers need to produce the coronavirus vaccine.
“You will see him invoking the Defense Production Act,” Dr. Celine Gounder, a member of Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “The idea there is to make sure the personal protective equipment, the test capacity and the raw materials for the vaccines are produced in adequate supply.”
According to NBC News, the Biden transition team has been debating on whether to invoke the law when Biden steps into office. A White House report released in July claimed Trump has used the act more than 80 times in order to increase the manufacturing of face masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
However, according to the New York Times, all but six examples in the report were either executive orders unrelated to the manufacture of PPE or Defense Department expenditures that did not address supply shortages.
Moderna, the second company to have its coronavirus vaccine approved in the U.S., is concerned the Defense Production Act will give Pfizer unfair access to vaccine components and equipment. However, Gounder did not indicate how or whether Biden intends to equitably use the act.
The Trump Administration said up to 20 million Americans will receive the vaccine this month. However, less than two million people have received the vaccine so far.
Trump’s coronavirus vaccine czar, Moncef Slaoui, told reporters the rollout was going slower than expected, but Pfizer announced earlier this month that they have millions of doses sitting in warehouses but have not received shipping instructions from the Trump Administration. Additionally, the administration passed on the opportunity to purchase millions of additional doses when it had the chance.
Since the vaccine began its rollout, Democratic lawmakers including Biden, Vice President elect Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and others have taken the vaccine on live TV. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers, who spent months downplaying the virus are now being attacked for taking the vaccine early in its rollout.
How it started: How it’s going: pic.twitter.com/9yFXKyYNuR
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) December 21, 2020