New U.S. Authority Supports COVID-19 Vaccine Production

A COVID-19 vaccine for Americans is on the horizon. Two U.S. agencies, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) will join forces to make its production and distribution a reality.

As vaccine companies, including Pfizer and Moderna, apply for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their COVID-19 vaccines, the DoD and the DFC are collaborating under a new authority to build the infrastructure necessary to ensure the vaccines can be safely mass-produced and delivered.  President Trump on May 14, 2020 signed an Executive Order that permits the DoD under the Defense Production Act to allow the DFC to leverage its financial tools, normally reserved for international development, to strengthen domestic COVID-19 responses and supply chains. The DFC has approved a $590 million loan to the Connecticut company ApiJect Systems to build a million-square foot campus in North Carolina to produce as many as 3 billion single-dose disposable injection devices — about the size of a thumb — as an alternative to traditional glass vials and syringes.

“This is going to be, we believe, the next generation of safe injections worldwide,” ApiJect Systems Corp. Executive Chairman Jay Walker told NPR on November 19, 2020.

Like the vaccines, the devices are also waiting for FDA approval. The new technology is expected to reduce equipment shortages and supply-chain bottlenecks.

According to a press release from the DFC, the new facility will be able to manage “15 different drugs, vaccines, and therapeutics at the same time” with the ability to pivot quickly and manufacture more effective vaccines as needed.

“DoD is honored to be working with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to provide acquisition and technical support to the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic led by the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Ellen M. Lord said in the DFC press release.

“This loan supports the production of critically needed medical supplies made in the United States by American workers. This loan program is one of many DoD initiatives to reduce our reliance on foreign sources and increase the security and resilience of our supply chains, which is at the nexus of U.S. national and economic security,” Lord said.

Washington Business Dynamics is proud to support its clients at the DoD and the DFC, through WBD’s award with USAID, as the U.S. federal government helps to lead the effort in America’s COVID-19 response.