Biden Extends COVID Emergency Declaration Despite September ‘Pandemic is Over’ Remark

Government, Health

U.S. President Joe Biden | Image by Shutterstock

The Biden administration announced an extension of the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration last week. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) renewed the emergency declaration through January 11.

A public health emergency was first declared due to COVID by the Trump administration in January 2020, and has since been renewed every 90 days.

Throughout the pandemic, the declaration has enabled emergency authorization for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines, along with Medicaid coverage expansions.

Republicans in Congress have urged the Biden administration to end the designation of COVID-19 as a public health emergency since the beginning of the year, citing the accessibility of vaccines and effective treatments.

In September, President Biden himself said “the pandemic is over” during a 60 Minutes interview, leading many to question why emergency measures need still be in place amidst the resumption of mass public gatherings across the country.

However, during a Tuesday briefing, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha expressed concern over the coming winter.

“We have seen an increase in COVID infections, hospitalizations, and deaths each of the last two winters,” he said, urging people to “get [their] new COVID shot today.”

President Biden has requested more than $22 billion in aid from Congress to pay for COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and treatments. Legislators have not yet passed Biden’s request for additional funding.

This week, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced the authorization of the Moderna bivalent vaccine for use as a booster dose for children as young as 6 years old and the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent vaccine as boosters for children as young as 5.

While the federal government still encourages the American people to get COVID-19 vaccinations and bivalent vaccine boosters, there are dissenting voices.

The Florida State Surgeon General now recommends against the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for males ages 18-39 years old following an analysis conducted by the Florida Department of Health, as previously reported in The Dallas Express. Additionally, shifting messaging on the purpose and efficacy of the vaccine have added to the dissent.

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