WASHINGTON — The federal government is outlining a sweeping plan to make COVID-19 vaccines available for free to all Americans, but polls show a strong undercurrent of skepticism across the country.
In a report Wednesday to Congress and an accompanying “playbook” for states and localities, federal health agencies and the Defense Department are sketching out complex plans for a vaccination campaign to begin gradually in January or later this year, eventually ramping up to reach any American who wants a shot.
According to The Associated Press, facets of the playbook include:
- Most COVID-19 vaccines will require two shots to be taken three to four weeks apart. Those who receive these vaccines will need to receive doses made by the same drugmaker.
- Early in the vaccination campaign, supplies will be limited and will be reserved for health care and other essential workers, as well as vulnerable groups. Later phases of the campaign would expand distribution to the entire country.
- The vaccine will be free to those who receive it, thanks to funding allocated by Congress and the Trump administration.
- States and local communities will handle distributing the vaccine, and must submit plans to the federal government in about a month's time.
The vaccination campaign faces an uphill battle from a skeptical public. An AP poll taken in May found only about half said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine. Experts say at least 70% of Americans need to be vaccinated or have immunity from a previous contraction in order to protect the country from the virus.