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Ross: Why we shouldn’t shut down vaccine ramp-up after pandemic ends

(Zhang Yuwei/Xinhua via AP, File)

As you’ve heard, the amount of available vaccine is about to increase dramatically. Merck pharmaceuticals will be cooperating with a competitor – Johnson & Johnson – to make millions of doses of the new one-shot vaccine, which means we could all be vaccinated by May.

But that didn’t happen by magic. The reason it’s happening is because of a government agency you never heard of – or at least, I never heard of it. It’s called BARDA: The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

It’s run by Dr. Robert Johnson, who for years has been creating a vaccine manufacturing and distribution network.

“Because it doesn’t matter how well a vaccine works if you can’t make enough of it,” Johnson said.

And so, BARDA will be interfering in our competitive free market system and paying Merck $105 million to upgrade and equip its manufacturing plants to manufacture another company’s product.

To make sure the supplies get to these plants, the military will handle the delivery logistics. The government will also pay Johnson & Johnson to operate its own plants around the clock.

But it doesn’t stop there — because there’s going to be a next time, and this idea of millions of people making appointments and lining up to get poked with a needle is really slow. So BARDA’s going to tackle that too.

“[We could be] moving away from traditional administration approaches such a needle and syringe, to something like a band-aid patch that could be self-applied,” Dr. Johnson predicts.

We could vaccinate ourselves!

I know a lot of people have this visceral aversion to national health care, but obviously we’re already there.

This also doesn’t stop when the pandemic is over — I think we all have to agree that the economy and the schools can never be shut down like this ever again, and so you have to have this Medical SEAL Team always at the ready, “so we do not have to recreate the entire system for each outbreak,” Johnson notes.

With Texas and Alabama making the decision to go naked and reopen 100%, I believe that pretty much dictates that national health care is here to stay.

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