On Sunday the White House Office of Management and Budget is expected to submit to Congress a proposed rule that would result in the U.S. government paying for part of the $3.4 billion vaccine budget allocated by Congress this year.
As outlined by The Washington Post, the proposal will redirect a federal fund of roughly $500 million a year for public health programs to provide the cost of filling a 9-year-old government supply of the popular antiviral drug, which is manufactured by the New York company Pfizer.
The funding will go towards buying enough of the medication to ensure all countries in the world that have demand for it, to have coverage, and to ensure public health officials have enough of the drug to treat several million people who are at risk of contracting the flu. The funding is similar to a program the OMB created to help mitigate the impact of threats including the Zika virus.
The plan has already been approved by the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture, though it does require Congressional approval.
The plan will create a 10-year plan to cover only those countries that will buy a certain percentage of the drug when available, rather than have the U.S. government insure all recipients of it.