Chairs Seek Administration’s Plans to Distribute and Deploy Coronavirus Vaccine

Sep 8, 2020
Press Release
“We need public confidence in the vaccine and the vaccination process.”

 

Washington, D.C. (Sep. 8, 2020)—Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Chairman James E. Clyburn, and Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting written responses and a staff briefing on the federal government’s plans to deploy a coronavirus vaccine after licensure or authorization. 

 

The Chairs asked about preparations for distribution, plans to prioritize the vaccine for at-risk populations, efforts to ensure public transparency and increase vaccine confidence, and safeguards to ensure decisions are made free from political considerations.

 

“We all fully support the rapid development of a safe and effective vaccine.  However, once one is approved for use, difficult decisions will follow,” the Chairs wrote.  “On day one, there will not be enough vaccine doses to administer immediately to everyone in America.  It will take time to manufacture, distribute, and administer doses to hundreds of millions of people.  Decisions will have to be made about who will get a vaccine first, whether particular groups will have priority for receiving a vaccine, and how to implement the determined order.  As a vaccine is deployed, public health agencies will need to engage in ongoing surveillance for safety and effectiveness.  These critical decisions must be made on the basis of science and our shared values—not politics.”

 

In the letter, the Chairs outlined key difficulties and considerations HHS, Operation Warp Speed, and other responsible federal officials must address in order to be prepared to expeditiously deploy as soon as a safe and effective vaccine is ready to be administered:

 

  • Distribution of hundreds of millions of doses of a vaccine will be a sprawling and complicated endeavor, and even more challenging for vaccines that require more than one dose or that must be stored at super-cold temperatures;

 

  • Achieving fairness and equity in vaccine prioritization and targeting will require a transparent, science-driven approach; and

 

  • Monitoring a vaccine on an ongoing basis after deployment will be necessary to fully understand safety and effectiveness.

 

“Clear and open public communication about the government’s efforts and decision-making about vaccine development, deployment, and safety monitoring are essential to building necessary trust in the vaccine project.  Safely achieving the levels of immunity that will eliminate transmission will require a substantial portion of the population to get vaccinated.  For that, we need public confidence in the vaccine and the vaccination process,” added the Chairs.

 

Click here to read the letter.

 

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116th Congress