Kuster, Jeffries Reintroduce Legislation to Ensure the U.S. is Prepared to Produce, Administer COVID-19 Vaccines
**The full legislation text can be found HERE** **Bill is an updated version of the Coronavirus Vaccine Development Act**
Washington, January 19, 2021
Washington, D.C. — Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) introduced the Coronavirus Vaccine and Therapeutic Development Act to ensure that the United States will be able to mass-produce and administer COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics quickly and efficiently. This bill is an updated version of the Coronavirus Vaccine Development Act, which Kuster and Jeffries introduced last June. The Coronavirus Vaccine and Therapeutic Development Act invests in manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines and therapies to ensure our supply can meet demand targets to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. The legislation also requires a cross-agency report that will provide greater transparency into our vaccine and therapy supply chain and distribution plans.
“The COVID-19 vaccines are one of our best tools to end this pandemic, but to get them widely and equitably distributed requires coordinated, strategic leadership from the federal government,” said Rep. Kuster. “I’m thrilled that the incoming Biden-Harris Administration has made vaccine distribution a top priority, and the Coronavirus Vaccine and Therapeutic Development Act will support their vaccination plan. This legislation will help to ensure transparency in our vaccination efforts and that Americans — especially communities that have been disproportionately affected by the novel coronavirus — will not face unnecessary delays or obstacles to getting vaccinated.”
"The COVID-19 pandemic will not be over for any of us until it is over for all of us,” said Rep. Jeffries. “As we work to vaccinate our first responders and the most vulnerable, we must also start preparing to vaccinate the entire American public. I am proud to join Rep. Annie Kuster in introducing legislation to help ensure that we stand ready to mass-produce and administer a COVID-19 vaccine quickly and efficiently to every community in the United States."
The Coronavirus Vaccine and Therapeutic Development Act would authorize $20 billion to expand upon the down payment made on vaccines and therapeutics in the end-of-year spending bill from 2020. This legislation also invests in COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic development, research, procurement, and expanded manufacturing capacity; channels funding through the Office of the Secretary in the Department of Health & Human Services to reflect the cross-agency coordination necessary for this undertaking; and requires a report from the Secretary to the appropriate committees of jurisdiction to ensure transparency in the process.
As a member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, Rep. Kuster has long advocated for increased production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and additional COVID-19 support. The Biden-Harris American Rescue Plan included multiple Kuster-backed priorities to ramp up vaccine production and administration and restore economic confidence. Kuster also has advocated since early 2020 for the need to provide additional federal resources to cash-strapped states and towns that have experienced depressed revenues as a result of the economic downturn. Last Congress, Kuster helped introduce legislation that would extend federal unemployment compensation to prevent millions of Americans from falling into poverty.
The original version of this legislation, the Coronavirus Vaccine Development Act, was introduced in the 116th Congress.