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Biden boosts US response to COVID-19 pandemic

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The cabin of an airplane. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — President Joe Biden is signing 10 executive orders aimed at combating the coronavirus pandemic, including one broadening the use of the Defense Production Act to expand vaccine production.

Biden also signed an order Thursday mandating masks for travel, including in airports and planes, ships, trains, buses and public transportation, as well as one directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse states for some costs related to their COVID-19 response and to provide funds to help reopen schools.

Biden is ordering FEMA to begin setting up vaccination centers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin a program to make vaccines available through local pharmacies starting next month. And he’s mobilizing the Public Health Service to deploy to assist localities in vaccinations.

The administration is trying to provide 100 million vaccine injections during the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency, an initial step toward getting the country inoculated from the disease so that schools and businesses can fully reopen.

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