Americans to lose covid treatment without Congress funding
The US government will run out of supplies of covid-19 treatments known as monoclonal antibodies as soon as late May and will have to scale back plans to get more unless Congress provides more funding, the White House said on Tuesday. Raising the alarm about depleted funding for the US pandemic response, the White House said the government also would not have enough money to provide additional covid-19 booster shots or variant-specific vaccines without a new injection of cash.
The White House has requested $22.5 billion in immediate emergency funding to fight the pandemic, but, after objections from Republicans and Democrats, the money was removed from the latest government funding bill passed by lawmakers last week.
‘We need this money now,’ a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday. ‘Time is not on our side.’
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the government had planned to put in an order on 25 March for what would likely have been hundreds of thousands of doses of monoclonal treatments. That order would have to be scaled back or scrapped without new funds, the official said.
‘We’ll likely run out of these treatments for our most vulnerable… Americans by the end of the year if not sooner,’ the official said. ‘Without additional funding soon, thousands of patients could lose access to treatments and these companies will have little incentive to continue investing in the development and manufacturing of these treatments.’