The Trump administration is set to announce as early as this week that Medicare and Medicaid will cover out-of-pocket costs for a potential coronavirus vaccine that is granted emergency use authorization, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Coming days before the election, the move could help President Donald Trump among seniors and lower-income Americans even though top medical experts don't expect a vaccine to be approved before Election Day. In the run-up to the election, Trump has applied intense pressure on agencies to deliver policy wins that might help his reelection, aides said.
Officials have been working for several weeks on changing regulations to allow for Medicare and Medicaid recipients to receive free vaccines.
It's not clear whether Trump himself will make the announcement of the rule change in the final days of the election, though he is working to appeal to seniors during stops in Florida later this week.
Politico first reported the coming changes.
There are currently four US Phase 3 trials of coronavirus vaccines as part of the federal government's Covid-19 vaccine program, Operation Warp Speed.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Sunday that experts will know by early December whether a potential coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective, but widespread availability will likely not occur until several months into 2021.
Operation Warp Speed aims to have Covid-19 vaccines moved to administration sites within 24 hours of an emergency use authorization or Food and Drug Administration license -- with the goal of providing the vaccine free of charge.
"In terms of a principle and an aspiration, it'll be that no American has to pay a single dime out of pocket to get a vaccine," Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the US Department of Health Human Services, said back in September.
The federal government already struck a deal earlier this month with retail pharmacies CVS and Walgreens to help distribute the coronavirus vaccine -- once one or more gets authorized -- to long-term care facilities like nursing homes, with no out-of-pocket costs.
CNN's Jamie Gumbrecht and Naomi Thomas contributed to this report.