Biden could use the Defense Production Act and other laws much more aggressively to speed vaccination and fight the development of new Covid-19 variants.
President Joe Biden made the Defense Production Act (DPA) a key part of his campaign coronavirus platform. He began calling for the act to be invoked to boost mask production in March 2020. On his first full day in office, he spoke of a “full-scale wartime effort to address the supply shortages by ramping up production of protective equipment, syringes, needles, you name it.” His executive order that afternoon directed all federal agencies and private industry to use the DPA to accelerate the production of “everything needed to protect, test, vaccinate, and take care of our people.” The White House has called the order one of several “historic actions” already taken by the Biden administration.
But so far, U.S. agencies have not used the DPA to produce vaccines. Since May 2020, officials have used it to a limited extent—18 times in all—to help outfit production lines with special tools, to invest in glass vials and syringes, and to procure some vaccine ingredients like sucrose and lipids. Government specialists have also been dispatched to manufacturing facilities to help solve bottlenecks. But experts say the act, and other U.S. laws, could be much more broadly applied to tackle supply and manufacturing issues. In the meantime, the pandemic is growing worse. Read more at The New Republic.
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