Kuster, Jeffries Introduce Legislation to Ensure U.S. is Prepared to Produce, Administer COVID-19 Vaccine Once Available
Concord, N.H., June 4, 2020
Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) introduced legislation to ensure that once a COVID-19 vaccine is available, the United States will be able to mass-produce and administer the vaccine quickly and efficiently. The Coronavirus Vaccine Development Act requires the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to take steps to expand and enhance our nation’s manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines and products necessary to administer the vaccines.
“In order to fully reopen our economy, put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, and move onto our ‘new normal,’ the majority of Americans will need to be vaccinated for this virus,” said Rep. Kuster. “Our nation’s top doctors and vaccine experts tell us that we are still a ways away from identifying and approving a vaccine for this virus, but we must begin working now to ensure that we are prepared to administer vaccines once one is available. This legislation will help to ensure that Americans – especially communities that have been disproportionately affected by the novel coronavirus – will not face unnecessary delays or obstacles to getting vaccinated.”
"While we haven't gotten to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must start preparing to reopen America in a way that protects our public health,” said Rep. Jeffries. “A vaccine will be crucial to that effort, and our nation will need a plan to get one to the American people swiftly. I am proud to join Rep. Annie Kuster in introducing legislation to help create a comprehensive plan to mass-produce and administer a COVID-19 vaccine quickly and efficiently.”
The Coronavirus Vaccine Development Act requires BARDA to award contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, and enter into other agreements to expand and enhance manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine candidates, and ancillary products necessary for the administration of vaccines. This legislation also requires the Administration to provide a report including an assessment on the vaccine supply chain and manufacturing capacity and efforts to prepare to vaccinate Americans once a vaccine is identified and approved.
In a hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee in May, Rep. Kuster questioned the former federal vaccine chief who filed a whistleblower complaint after being removed from his position as Director of BARDA. Rep. Kuster asked Dr. Bright about his role as director of BARDA; America’s preparedness for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic including the availability of supplies for a future COVID-19 vaccine; and readiness for reopening the country.