Now That The COVID-19 Vaccine Is In Calif., Who Foots The Bill To Store And Distribute It?

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — With the COVID-19 vaccine now in California, it begs the question, “Who is footing the bill to store it and distribute it?”

About one-third of all states reported last month that they are “greatly” or “completely” concerned about having sufficient COVID-19 vaccine-related supplies according to a study by the Government Accountability Office.

The federal government is providing the vaccine and the supplies to administer it, but individual states would need to cover the cost of medical workers and storage fees.

Governor Newsom said Monday that the federal government must step in to help with the costs.

“In terms of the back end logistics, the IT issues, the marketing issues, the broader issues of distribution, the federal government is going to be critical in terms of providing support for the states and counties and local health officers,” Newsom said.

The CDC has sent states about $300 million to support flu and COVID vaccine planning, but that’s a drop in the bucket.

In a letter to Congress from groups representing state and local health agencies, they requested more than $8 billion for COVID vaccination distribution of which $3 billion would be used for recruitment and training for healthcare workers and more than $1 billion for storage.

“To put it in perspective, this is the largest mass vaccination campaign our country has ever tried to accomplish,” said Adriane Casalotti with the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

Nick Vyas, the Executive Director of USC’s Center for Global Supply Chain Management, says the biggest costs associated with the vaccine won’t be the immunization itself.

“So we’re going to have people a) To train, b) people that are on the frontline being protected so they are going to nee PPE equipment, which obviously there’s a cost associated with that,” said Vyas. “But then also there’s a supply chain side of this which is…how do we maintain the integrity of temperature control?”

There will also be costs associated with the data needed to keep the vaccine campaign successful.

“So this is the type of situation where we need to know who is getting vaccinated with which vaccine, but also are we hitting all the people in the population we need to right now?” said Casalotti.

As for the cost to those that take the vaccine, Newsom said Monday there should be no cost to those with or without insurance.

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