Democrat Joe Biden said Friday that if elected president, he would mandate coronavirus vaccines free of charge for all Americans, part of a national strategy to “get ahead of this virus.”
“Once we have a safe and effective vaccine, it must be free for everyone – whether you are insured or not,” Biden said in a speech on his pandemic response plan just 11 days before the US presidential election.
President Donald Trump, who is following Biden in the polls, has also stressed that a vaccine – which he says will be ready in the coming weeks – should be free.
But Democrats led by Biden have hammered Trump for failing to devise and implement a nationwide response to a pandemic that has now killed more than 223,000 Americans.
“Covid-19 dwarfs everything we’ve been exposed to in recent history, and it’s not showing signs of slowing down. The virus is rising in almost every state,” Biden said in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware.
“We are more than eight months into this crisis and the president still does not have a plan,” said the 77-year-old former vice president.
“He’s given up. He’s quitting you. He’s quitting your family. He’s quitting America.”
Biden said that if elected, he would “immediately” implement a national strategy “to finally get ahead of this virus and get our lives back.”
This would include consulting governors in all 50 states during the presidential transition.
Should he join, Biden would urge Congress to pass a major bill outlining everything needed to fight the virus, implement a national mask mandate in federal buildings and intergovernmental transport, and implement a national test plan equivalent to a sevenfold increase relative to today’s test level.