Federally Funded COVID-19 Vaccines Will End. What’s Next?
Cutoff could come by January, leaving county officials worried about impact.
Federal funding for COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics will likely run out by the end of the year in Milwaukee County, endangering free and wide access.
Dr. Ben Weston, chief health policy advisor for Milwaukee County, held a briefing with local media Tuesday warning that once federal funding for COVID-19 healthcare treatments and vaccines runs out, “It’ll look similar to what most of the rest of our health system looks like where vulnerable folks without resources, without insurance, get left behind; and that’s at a time when COVID is the fourth leading cause of death in our country.” Currently the U.S. is averaging more than 400 deaths a day due to COVID-19.
Without sustained federal funding, the ability to provide COVID-19 vaccines and treatments is in jeopardy, Weston said. The resources marshalled by the federal government are on a scale that cannot easily be matched by states and local municipalities or health systems, he warned.
Given the uncertainty of continued funding, Weston said now is the time to get vaccinated and boosted, before free access likely runs out at the end of December. “If you have been a hold out on the vaccine or not yet received your booster, now is the time,” Weston said. “The vaccine has been given to hundreds of millions of folks and proven to be safe and effective. And while you are at it, get protected from flu at the same time.”
Seeking out funding is “practically a full time job” for public health departments in Milwaukee County, Weston said, noting that those efforts will continue. But unless federal funding is sustained, they won’t be able to match what is lost.
Weston noted that it’s often the most vulnerable populations that have the lowest vaccination rates, and throughout the pandemic when a new variant arises and disease spikes they are the most affected. “Now, the last thing we need is an additional barrier, a financial barrier,” he said.
In Milwaukee County, the COVID-19 disease burden has recently been declining. An important tool in the fight against COVID-19 is vaccination, and limiting access would affect efforts to sustain immunity across the population, which wanes over time. If the federal funding runs out, as is anticipated, Weston said, come January, COVID-19 vaccination will be a “much more confusing landscape.”
- City of Milwaukee Bi-Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Dec 9th, 2022
- MKE County: COVID-19 Disease Burden Remains Stable - Graham Kilmer - Nov 25th, 2022
- MKE County: Wastewater Data Shows COVID-19 Uptick - Graham Kilmer - Nov 18th, 2022
- City of Milwaukee Bi-Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Nov 11th, 2022
- DHS Launches Free Telehealth Service for COVID-19 Treatment - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Nov 2nd, 2022
- City of Milwaukee Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Oct 28th, 2022
- New COVID-19 Boosters Available for Children - Graham Kilmer - Oct 25th, 2022
- MKE County: Rising New COVID-19 Variants A Concern - Graham Kilmer - Oct 22nd, 2022
- MKE County: COVID-19 Increasing In Milwaukee - Graham Kilmer - Oct 14th, 2022
- City of Milwaukee Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Oct 14th, 2022
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