Free COVID-19 shots will run out by January, HHS says

As Congress-approved funds for COVID-19 efforts dwindle, free vaccines could be a thing of the past as of January, according to Dawn O'Connell, HHS' preparation and response coordinator.

Ms. O'Connell, who is in charge of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, wrote in an Aug. 30 blog post that "it has been more than 530 days since we last received new funding for COVID-19." Because of this, she predicts the administration will be forced to forgo buying and delivering free shots by January and that the last supply of Pfizer's antiviral treatment will dry up by mid-2023. 

The supply of Evusheld, AstraZeneca's preventative treatment, and Lagevrio, Merck's antiviral drug, will run out by early 2023, she said. 

Other free COVID-19 response measures, including at-home COVID-19 test kits, will end Sept. 2 because of the shrinking budget. 

Ms. O'Connell said "additional COVID-19 funding continues to be urgently needed" for the updated boosters expected to be ready early September and other "critical response needs."


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