BIDEN BUDGET BREAKTHROUGH for PANDEMICS!
President requests sum of $4.75 billion for a global pandemic prevention fund
March 1, 2022
President Biden has released his fiscal year 2023 budget request and with it, he has made bold commitments for public health, vaccine justice, and an investment in a global fund for pandemic prevention.
The Administration requested $4.75 billion over five years for a multilateral pandemic prevention fund. This is a huge leap forward from the $250 million requested in last year’s fiscal budget. Additionally, there are also bilateral funds for prevention of zoonotic spillover, promotion of global health security, and funds to invest in health systems and health workforce.
"We've been fighting for this since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. President Biden’s recognition of an investment in pandemic prevention for our futures is an enormous step forward," says Akshita Siddula, Managing Director of Right to Health Action.
It is necessary to also continue to address the current needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic as noted in the Administration’s recently proposed comprehensive COVID proposal. Congress continues to maintain its pattern of inaction, even as surging new variants cause shutdowns in China and spread across Europe. Senators Romney and Schumer have failed to negotiate an agreement to pass an urgently needed emergency supplemental for COVID-19.
Without additional, immediate funding, the federal government will not have the resources needed to deal with future surges of the virus. There is a high risk of this happening, as BA.2 now represents up to 70% of the cases in many parts of America.
There are not enough additional boosters or variant specific vaccines for everyone. Free testing, treatment, and vaccinations will no longer be covered by the federal government for the uninsured. The supply of life-saving antibody treatments will be depleted by May, causing many immunocompromised people to be unable to access these life-saving treatments.
This is what we mean when we say “this pandemic is a policy choice.” We have the resources and known solutions to protect health. Congress must enact a long term strategy of investing in equitable health care and the prevention of disease outbreaks – not just their containment.