Biden pledges free Covid vaccine for ‘everybody’ in US if elected
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Democrat Joe Biden said Friday that if elected president he would mandate COVID-19 vaccines for free to all Americans, part of a national strategy to stay “one step ahead” of the coronavirus.
As he was setting up his contingency plan to fight the pandemic, Biden attacked President Donald Trump over his response, saying the incumbent Republican “gave up” on the fight against the virus and “left America”.
Biden, who aims to follow guidelines given by scientists like wearing face masks and social distancing, said his election would focus on getting the pandemic under control and helping Americans struggling with the cost.
“Once we have a safe and effective vaccine, it has to be free for everyone, whether you have insurance or not,” Biden said in a speech in which he announced his plan to fight pandemics just eleven days before the US Presidential election set out.
Trump, who is following Biden in the polls, has also stressed that a vaccine – which he says will be ready in the coming weeks – should be free.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say COVID-19 vaccine doses bought with taxpayers’ money – through billions of dollars in Congressional funding – would be given to the American people for free.
Trump tried to signal in his second and final debate with Biden on Thursday that the US would overcome the pandemic.
“We turn the curve, we turn the corner, it goes away,” said Trump.
But the Biden-led Democrats hammered Trump for failing to devise a nationwide response to a pandemic that has now killed more than 223,000 Americans.
“COVID-19 dwarfs anything we’ve seen in recent history, and it’s showing no signs of slowing,” said Biden in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, adding that the virus is spreading in almost every state ” rises “.
“We have been in this crisis for more than eight months and the president still has no plan,” said the 77-year-old former vice president.
“He gave up. He left you. He left your family. He left America.”
Biden said that if elected, he would “immediately” develop a national strategy “to finally get one step ahead of this virus and get our lives back”.
This would include consultation of the governors of all 50 states during the change of presidency.
After inauguration, Biden would urge Congress to pass key legislation that takes into account the country’s needs to fight the pandemic, implement a national mask mandate in federal buildings and interstate traffic, and launch a national test plan that will increase sevenfold compared to today’s test level.
Biden’s runner-up Kamala Harris told donors on Friday that the coronavirus crisis “is probably one of the largest mass casualty events we have ever seen as a country”.
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© 2020 AFP
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