The COVID-19 vaccine will be free for all Americans who want to get it, according to a federal government plan submitted to Congress this week detailing how a vaccine will be rolled out nationwide once one is approved.
The Associated Press reported that the federal government has put together a large and complex plan for distributing a vaccine as quickly as possible, as several companies proceed with final tests on vaccines that may receive emergency use authorizations from the Food and Drug Administration due to the urgency of the pandemic.
Americans who get the vaccine won't have to directly pay for the shots or the administration of those shots. They will be paid for using taxpayer funding allocated by the Trump administration.
Depending on the supply of the vaccine upon completion, it may initially only be accessible to members of higher-priority groups, such as health care workers, other essential workers, the elderly, and those with conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious illness or death from COVID-19. Data shows that younger, healthy people are at very low risk of serious illness from the novel coronavirus and may suffer no symptoms at all.
While there may be different vaccines from multiple drug manufacturers, the report said that most of the vaccines will require two shots to be taken between three and four weeks apart.
The rush for a vaccine under a federal initiative called Operation Warp Speed has caused concerns among the public that the resulting vaccine(s) might not be safe. There has never been a vaccine for a coronavirus, as vaccines for SARS and MERS were not developed for humans.
Some Democratic politicians have begun fueling this skepticism by suggesting that President Donald Trump will push public health agencies to cut corners in getting a vaccine approved and available before the presidential election at the beginning of November.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was asked on CNN whether she would take a vaccine before the election, and she answered evasively.
"I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump and it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he's talking about," Harris said.
President Trump said Tuesday that a vaccine could be available in three or four weeks, although Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that it is more likely to be early next year before it is widely available..