Schumer: $30 billion in federal funds needed for COVID vaccine

The first 'mass air shipment' of the Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine was brought to the U.S. on Friday

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On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said $30 billion in federal funds was needed in order to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Reuters, legislative negotiations for an economic relief bill remain at a standstill.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) holds a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on November 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Senate Democrats were critical of President Donald Trump’s continued claims of election fraud and his refusal to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Schumer, a Democrat, said that the state of New York would require “hundreds of millions” alone solely for distribution and educational work for the vaccine rollout.

“This should be a moment of clarity for everyone. This is a huge crisis and we need big relief,” Schumer said in a statement.

Read More: State lawmakers provide virus aid due to federal delays

USA Today reports that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has confirmed the first “mass air shipment” of the Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine from Belgium to the United States on Friday.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules say that vaccines cannot be transported to individual administration sites until those sites have been either licensed or authorized by the FDA.

Pfizer’s vaccine is expected to be authorized by the FDA by mid-December, according to USA Today.

Operation Warp Speed, a White House initiative created to develop and distribute vaccines is set to start vaccine deliveries within 24 hours of FDA approval.

Pfizer currently has two plants that are creating the vaccine — one in Kalamazoo, Michigan and one in Puurs, Belgium.

“Operation Warp Speed leaders are aware of and facilitating vaccine shipments coming to the U.S. from Belgium. In an effort to minimize the potential risk to delivery and distribution, we are unable to provide specific details regarding where vaccines are produced and stored,” the statement read.

Read More: Los Angeles orders more restrictions as coronavirus surges

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan asked the legislature to pass several measures in regards to the coronavirus pandemic including a $100 million COVID-19 relief bill, according to MLive.

Whitmer asked for an extension for unemployment benefits and legislation to protect public health including mandates for masks in public spaces. Whitmer is one of the many state lawmakers pushing to provide virus aid for their states.

Austan Goolsbee, former White House Chief Economist during the Obama Administration, said in an interview on CNN that Democrats should accept a smaller relief package to bring some relief that’ll “keep people from being evicted, keeping businesses from shutting down permanently.”

“So if they have to accept half a loaf, then they should accept half a loaf, and then let’s try to get another half of a loaf. But right now is really touch and go, and I wish both sides could see that,” Goolsbee said.

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