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The Biden administration will nearly double Medicare's reimbursement rates for COVID-19 vaccines in a continued effort to speed up immunizations, the White House announced Monday.
“The Biden administration will nearly double Medicare's reimbursement rates for administering COVID vaccines from about 23 dollars per shot to 40 dollars per shot,” said Andy Slavitt, senior White House pandemic adviser. “This will make it easier for more health care providers to get out into communities and give more COVID shots.”
Members of the White House COVID-19 Response Team also reported that most Americans who have signed up for two-shot vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are successfully getting their second doses within the recommended timeframe. Only 3% are missing their second dose entirely.
As part of the American Rescue Plan signed into law last week, the administration will cover 100% of the cost for Medicaid and children's health insurance beneficiaries to get vaccinated, which, Slavitt said, “protects states from bearing any cost associated with reimbursement rates.”
Meanwhile, the warm temperatures and declining COVID-19 rates are driving people to relax their prevention efforts, said Rochelle Walensky, MD, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last Friday, more than 1.3 million people passed through airports across the country, she said – more travelers in a single day since March 2020, before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic.
Equally concerning, she said, are images of spring breakers gathering in crowns without masks.
“This is all in the context of 50 thousand cases per day,” she said.
Walensky pointed to recent COVID-19 surges in parts of Europe as “warning signs for us all” about what happens when people let their guards down too early.
“I'm pleading with you, for the sake of our nation's health,” Walensky said. “We are just starting to turn the corner the data are moving in the right direction, but where this goes is dependent on whether we all do what must be done to protect ourselves and others.”
White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “COVID-19 Vaccine Second-Dose Completion and Interval Between First and Second Doses Among Vaccinated Persons — United States, December 14, 2020−February 14, 2021”
Transportation Security Administration, “TSA checkpoint travel numbers.”