White House Coronavirus Czar Ashish Jha: More Money Needed for ‘More Effective’ Vaccines

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 26: White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha ges
Anna Moneymaker/Getty

The White House detailed plans Tuesday for more coronavirus vaccines, suggesting future vaccines would be more effective if the government continued to fund the research.

“It is possible that we may get a whole new generation of vaccines in the Fall or Winter that may be more effective and more durable,” White House COVID-⁠19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told reporters during the daily briefing.

Jha said the Food and Drug agency was working with the Moderna and Pfizer pharmaceutical companies to develop new vaccines, and urged Congress to pass more coronavirus research funding.

“None of those are going to be available to the American people if we don’t get more funding,” he warned.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki listens as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha speaks at a daily press conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on April 26, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty)

Jha is the new coronavirus czar for the Biden administration after Jeff Zients stepped down in March.

Zients also urged Congress to fund additional vaccine research and development, floating the idea of a “variant-specific vaccine” as the pandemic continues.

Sixty percent of Americans have been infected by the virus, including Vice President Kamala Harris who tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday.

Jha acknowledged the current vaccines were not able to prevent Americans from getting infected.

“We have a very, very contagious variant out there,” he said. “It is going to be hard to ensure that no one gets COVID in America. That’s not even a policy goal.”

But Jha stressed the importance of getting the entire world vaccinated for the virus, criticizing officials who wanted to focus on a “domestic-only” approach.

“That’s not a thing. You can’t do that,” he said. “If we’re going to fight a global pandemic, we have to have a global approach.”


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