U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said he would order increased production of syringes and other supplies to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations and boost the roll-out of the Trump administration, which he called a’ dismal failure.
Federal disaster relief staff will set up thousands of vaccination centers under Biden’s initiative, where retired physicians would administer vaccines to teachers, grocery store workers, people over the age of 65 and other groups who are not currently eligible.
The Democrat would invoke the Defense Production Act to increase production of equipment needed to distribute the vaccines, such as glass vials, needles and syringes, according to a document released by his transition team. He would also use the law to support vaccine refrigeration and storage.
Biden said his team has defined companies that are ready under the law to be activated, which allows the president to order businesses to manufacture products required for national defense.
The transition team said that states that use their National Guard in the initiative would be reimbursed by the federal government. The coronavirus has killed more than 390,000 people in the United States, and by February, a top Biden adviser said on Friday that the death count could hit 500,000.
During his first 100 days in office, Biden vowed to do better than President Donald Trump to curb the epidemic and bring 100 million vaccine shots into the arms of Americans.
Biden, who assumes office on Wednesday, said, “This is a time to set big goals and pursue them with courage and conviction because the nation’s health is literally at stake.”