The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will award $140 million for COVID-19 vaccine preparedness and almost $87 million for tracking and testing to 64 jurisdictions, including all 50 states and U.S. territories, the Department of Health and Human Services announced on Tuesday.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) funding will provide infrastructure support to the Immunizations and Vaccines for Children cooperative agreement. These funds, along with a previous $200 million in September, will help to prepare for distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar said, "This new round of funding will help these awardees continue to plan for and implement their COVID-19 vaccine programs, in collaboration with CDC, Operation Warp Speed, and the private-sector distribution and administration partners that we have enlisted."
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In addition on Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the first over-the-counter, at-home diagnostic test for COVID-19 that does not require a prescription.
The Ellume COVID-19 Home Test was developed with $30 million in support from the National Institute of Health's RADx Tech program.
Azar said, "With new at-home options emerging and tens of millions of rapid tests already strategically distributed by HHS this fall to states, we have brought together the best of the public and private sectors to build the world's greatest testing system."
WHY THIS MATTERS
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rollout to frontline healthcare workers has begun, to be followed by vaccinations in long-term care facilities starting on Monday.
Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine will get Food and Drug Administration advisory board review on Thursday.
THE LARGER TREND
Other Centers for Disease Control and Prevention efforts complement vaccine implementation activities and focus on three targeted areas of activity: increasing the use of Advanced Molecular Detection technologies, such as whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2; strengthening public-health-laboratory preparedness; and ensuring safe travel through optimized data sharing and communication with international travelers.
ON THE RECORD
"These are critical investments at a critical time in the COVID-19 pandemic," said CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield. "Vaccine is being distributed now, and this additional funding is an important step along the road to restoring some normalcy to our lives and to our country."
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