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President Donald Trump signed an executive order that prioritises Americans’ access to COVID-19 vaccines before the US potentially begins helping other nations.
Trump said he is ready to invoke the Defence Production Act to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines first get to the Americans.
The Defence Production Act allows a president to force private manufacturers to ramp up production and give the federal government priority on any orders it places.
“American companies were the first to produce a verifiably safe and effective vaccine,” Trump said.
“Together, we will defeat the virus, and we will soon end the pandemic, and we will save millions and millions of lives, both in our country and all over the world. And we’ve already started,” Trump said while signing the executive order on Tuesday at a White House event celebrating Operation Warp Speed - his administration’s effort to produce and distribute safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19.
Trump told reporters that his administration provided USD 14 billion to speed up coronavirus vaccine development.
“Because of this unprecedented investment, both Pfizer and Moderna have announced that their vaccines are approximately 95 per cent effective,” he said.
Pfizer has developed its vaccine outside of Operation Warp Speed but is collaborating with the US government on manufacturing and distribution.
The UK on Tuesday began its vaccinations with the first set of people injected with their first of two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.
The deadly virus has so far killed over 285,000 Americans and some 1.5 million people worldwide. (PTI)