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Coronavirus update: CDC funds COVID-19 vaccine distribution and monitoring; BD sees surge in syringe business

Anjalee Khemlani
·Senior Reporter
·3 min read
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is ramping up its efforts to help states and local governments stay on top of vaccine administrations when COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out to the general public.

CDC announced it will award $140 million for COVID-19 vaccine preparedness and almost $87 million for tracking and testing to 64 jurisdictions, including all 50 states and U.S. territories — a total of about $227 million. That’s in addition to $200 million awarded in September.

U.S. Health Sec. Alex Azar said the funding is important to help curb the pandemic.

“This new round of funding will help these awardees continue to plan for and implement their COVID-19 vaccine programs, in collaboration with CDC, Operation Warp Speed, and the private-sector distribution and administration partners that we have enlisted,” he said.

The country launched its largest ever vaccination effort this week, starting with high priority frontline health workers. Nursing home residents and staff are slated to receive the vaccine next week.

Claudio Alvarado, left, a registered nurse at UC Davis Medical Center, waits to be inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine by Heather Donaldson, registered nurse at UC Davis Medical Center, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Hector Amezcua, Pool)
Claudio Alvarado, left, a registered nurse at UC Davis Medical Center, waits to be inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine by Heather Donaldson, registered nurse at UC Davis Medical Center, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Hector Amezcua, Pool)

Syringe surge

Meanwhile, cases are surging around the country at record rates, highlighting the urgent need for vaccinations to begin. Globally, the demand for a vaccine is unprecedented, and while Western nations have secured early access, there is growing demand to roll out vaccinations elsewhere.

To that end, medical device giant Becton Dickinson (BDX) announced it has secured orders for 1 billion syringes to help with the vaccine distribution.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, SVP of public affairs Elizabeth Woody said it’s not just governments which are working hard to prepare, but also non-government organizations.

“In addition to the conversations with governments, literally since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve also had to ramp up manufacturing capacity,” she said.

The company plans to invest $1.2 billion over the next four years, in addition to the previous $70 million public-partnership with the U.S. to expand capacity in Nebraska.

Shipments are already underway and more than 300 million injection devices have been delivered around the world, according to the company.

Woody said a lot is being done to ramp up operations.

“We’re running lines 24/7 to make sure we have the products that we need” in addition to the regular products, she said.

It’s a boost to the business, the largest syringe maker continues to also support childhood and flu vaccines. And there is even more scope for growth, Woody said.

While most of the first rounds of vaccines are being shipped in vials, the company is already talking to vaccine makers about pre-filled syringes — which is what it’s spending the $1.2 billion upgrade on.

“This is sort of the next phase of efforts...that is the direction that things will go as more is know about the various vaccines. As we move forward we will see more pre-fillable syringes,” Woody said.

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