09.17.20

Murray: Trump Administration’s Vaccine Plan “Still Missing Far Too Many Pieces”

Murray responds to vaccine plan from Trump Administration that remains silent on crucial questions, including when it comes to researching, developing, reviewing, and manufacturing safe and effective vaccines

 

 Murray: “This is one part of a complicated puzzle that is still missing far too many pieces.”

 

(Washington, D.C.) –  Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement in response to a vaccine distribution plan released by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense. Senator Murray has repeatedly pressed the Trump Administration to develop and implement a comprehensive, end-to-end national vaccines plan, and laid out what such a plan should entail in a white paper.

 

“This is one part of a complicated puzzle that is still missing far too many pieces. I’m glad we’re finally starting to get some of the details on vaccine distribution that I have been pressing this Administration to provide for months. However, I’m concerned after reviewing this plan that the Administration is still silent on a lot of big challenges that lie ahead on vaccines, including when it comes research, development, review, and manufacturing, and that this plan says too little on addressing disparities.

 

  • We have to address the fact that people of color are currently underrepresented in vaccine clinical trials.
  • We need an explanation of the standards the Food and Drug Administration will use to evaluate a vaccine for emergency use and a plan for how data used to greenlight a vaccine will be made public.
  • We must avoid a repeat of the testing catastrophe where the Trump Administration completely failed to manage the supply chain to prevent shortages and bottlenecks.
  • While this plan discusses the objective of ensuring vaccines are covered with no out-of-pocket costs, and requires all vaccine providers to administer the vaccine regardless of an individual’s ability to pay, we have already seen this administration fall short on making sure that COVID-19 testing is available at no cost. More details are needed to make sure the same mistakes aren’t repeated.  
  •  This plan fails to address how we are going to ensure adequate PPE for wide vaccine distribution, and does nothing to ensure the adequacy of our cold chain storage system that will be required for delivery of some vaccine candidates.
  • The strategy makes clear that the Department of Defense is taking an active role in distribution of the vaccine, and we need details on the extent of that involvement, given CDC’s deep experience and expertise.

 

“These are just a few of many crucial questions, yet the Departments’ announcement today does little to answer them.

 

“We simply can’t afford any mistakes or delays when it comes to ensuring a safe, effective, and trusted vaccine is manufactured at scale, and widely and equitably distributed and administered. That’s why I’m going to keep pushing for the kind of truly comprehensive, national plan that is long overdue.”

 

Senator Murray has frequently called for a comprehensive, end-to-end national vaccines plan. She put out a white paper earlier this year detailing exactly what such a plan should entail, and has emphasized these issues repeatedly at Senate hearings as well. She is continuing to push for Congress to include a requirement the Administration develop such a plan in any future COVID-19 package. She has also sent several letters to the Administration raising her concerns with the outstanding questions regarding its vaccine planning, including a letter warning against sidelining experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  and a letter asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue official FDA guidance on the criteria for emergency authorization of COVID-19 vaccines.

 

###