US officials say coronavirus vaccine will be free for all citizens

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Aug 14, 2020, 07.25 AM(IST)

Coronavirus vaccine Photograph:( AFP )

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The government will bear the expenses of the vaccine doses, but medical professionals who will give these to patients will be paid by insurers 

The United States health officials said on Thursday that the country would ensure distributing free coronavirus vaccine once the drug is proven effective. 

"We are not at all reducing the regulatory rigour with which we will evaluate and hopefully approve vaccines," said Paul Mango, a senior health department official to reporters, as quoted by news agency AFP. 

Also read | Russia's first Covid-19 vaccine not in advanced test stages: WHO

The US has invested over $10 billion in six vaccine projects and signed agreements intended to deliver hundreds of millions of doses if they get approved following clinical trials. 

Also read | Phase 3 trials of Russian COVID-19 vaccine to start in Philippines in October

The government will bear the expenses of the vaccine doses, but medical professionals who will give these to patients will be paid by insurers. 

"Most" private insurers have agreed to waive any out-of-pocket costs to their customers, said Mango. 

"We are on track to deliver hundreds of millions of doses by January 2021," he added.

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said he was "cautiously optimistic" that at least one of the six candidates backed by the US would able to come up with the vaccine by the end of this year. 

The US officials, though, continued their scepticism towards what Russia earlier this week declared as world's first COVID-19 vaccine. 

"I hope that the Russians have actually definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective, but I seriously doubt that they've done that," said Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease. 

Collins compared the vaccine, dubbed as "Sputnik V" to a game of "Russian roulette".