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Federal funding for COVID-19 tests, treatment, and vaccines drying up

Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 2:58 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Congress failed to pass coronavirus funding in its latest government spending bill. Now, the White House is warning that next week it will have to pull back on covering COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and treatment.

UVA Health doctors say this could hurt us down the road.

“The idea of living with covid, I think, really is predicated on the idea that we can get a lot of people vaccinated, a lot of people tested, and then people treated if they need that treatment,” Doctor Patrick Jackson with UVA Health said Thursday, March 17.

Missing COVID-19 funding could get tricky, especially for the uninsured.

“The essential thing is that these treatments can make a big difference and the outcomes especially for the most vulnerable people, but the treatments are only effective given very early on after the onset of symptoms,” Dr. Jackson said.

If the funding does not come through and supplies run short, providers could find themselves between health and healthcare.

“We’re going to have to make some difficult choices about who’s able to access those medications,” Jackson said.

Congress has tried to get more COVID-19 funding passed, but have run into some difficulties.

“We need to do it because we certainly can’t take for granted that this is all in the rearview mirror,” U.S. Senator Tim Kaine said.

Sen. Kaine says Congress is trying to pass more coronavirus relief, but not everyone can agree on how much.

“We want to provide funding, we’re ready to provide funding, we just want to get some answers about what is our stockpile of vaccines? What is our stockpile of testing? What is our stockpile of treatments?” the senator said.

Dr. Jackson says the funding is also important for future research.

“If we have to cut back on those clinical trials, that means more delays in finding better treatments for COVID-19, and that could really set us back substantially,” the doctor said.

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