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An executive order ensuring all Americans have priority access to the coronavirus vaccine before the United States government starts distributing it worldwide will likely be signed by President Donald Trump on Tuesday, according to a Fox News exclusive report.
On Tuesday during a vaccine summit at the White House, the president plans to reemphasize that the “priority has been an America First approach,” senior administration officials told Fox News.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said they are “very hopeful” that approval will happen soon.
“The priority is to make sure we distribute these vaccines to Americans before we start shipping them around the world to get international access,” an official told Fox News, adding that international assistance could begin in “late spring, early summer,” but only after they “achieve vaccinating those who have a desire to be vaccinated.”
The expected executive order would occur ahead of the Food and Drug Administration’s meeting this Thursday on Pfizer and BioNTech’s application for emergency authorization of their vaccine. A source close to the White House Coronavirus Task Force reportedly told Fox News that the Pfizer-BioNTech emergency authorization could happen by Friday.
An official reportedly said the executive order is “clear and is directing that we prioritize access to the American people before working with partners and allies to provide access to the vaccine,” adding the the order would distinguish “who will be working with the international aspect of this, the framework, guides and tools, for when we have access supply to meet those demands.”
The secretary of Health and Human Services will be directed to prioritize Americans in vaccine distribution at unprecedented speeds.
“We will very soon have highly effective COVID-19 vaccines to the American people,” another official told Fox News. The official went on to say that the vaccine is “critical to ensuring the health and safety of our citizens, viability of the economy and the security of our nation.”
In an effort to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic, the executive order will also include a framework for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine internationally, including guidelines for USAID, HHS, the Export-Import Bank and the U.S. International Development Finance Corp.
For countries that struggle financially, a senior administration official told Fox News that they will “leverage resources to help them to procure the vaccine,” as well as collect “ancillary supplies necessary to administer and track.”
President Trump’s executive order will also direct the U.S. government to work with organizations that focus on resource donation in an effort to support “92 low to low-middle income countries.”
Operation Warp Speed, a partnership between public and private entities created by President Trump earlier this year to expedite coronavirus vaccine creation, currently has six vaccine candidates, including two that have already sought emergency authorization.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said he anticipates average Americans will be vaccinated by the “second quarter” of next year.