Kuster Questions Vaccine Manufacturers, Urges Congressional Action to Bolster Vaccine Production
**House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee holds first hearing of the 117th Congress**
Washington, February 23, 2021
Washington, D.C. — Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, participated in a hearing entitled, “Pathway to Protection: Expanding Availability of COVID-19 Vaccines.” The Subcommittee heard from vaccine manufacturers about ongoing efforts to develop and expand the production of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.
“Safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines are some of our best tools for crushing this pandemic,” said Rep. Kuster. “But, unless we are able to ramp up production and get shots into arms across the country efficiently and equitably, we will continue to be one step behind the virus. New variants of COVID-19 are already circulating in the U.S., including in New Hampshire where the highly contagious variant first identified in the U.K. has emerged. The CDC projects this U.K. variant may be the dominant strain here by March, and the South African variant has been found in at least 10 states. According to Dr. Fauci, the data on these variants are a ‘wake-up call.’”
“Although I have concerns about our manufacturing capacity and increasing demand from our limited supply, today’s hearing and the testimony from our expert witnesses made me proud of what our country has accomplished in our response to this pandemic, and hopeful for our ability to limit the threat of these new variants,” Rep. Kuster continued. “I will continue working in Congress to advance legislation to bolster our COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution, ensure that our supply meets the demands of this public health crisis, and expand access to life-saving vaccines and therapeutics so no one is left behind as we recover from this pandemic.”
Witnesses at today’s Subcommittee hearing included:
Group President, Chief Business Officer, Pfizer
Dr. Stephen Hoge
Dr. Richard Nettles
Vice President of Medical Affairs, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, Johnson & Johnson
Dr. Ruud Dobber
Executive Vice President and President, BioPharmaceuticals Business Unit, AstraZeneca
Executive Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer, and Chief Business Officer, Novavax, Inc.
Since early 2020, Rep. Kuster has pushed for meaningful action to address some of the challenges that experts say are slowing the rollout and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. Kuster introduced bipartisan legislation to bolster and quicken our nationwide vaccine rollout. The Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act would improve and expand real-time communication between state and federal governments, as well as public and private health care providers, to ensure vaccines are being administered effectively and efficiently across all states and territories. Kuster is also the sponsor of 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.