September 10, 2020
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, today released a letter he sent to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield seeking answers on the CDC’s development of a fair, efficient plan for distributing an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. Blunt also announced plans to hold a hearing in mid-September on vaccine development and distribution, following up on his previous Operation Warp Speed hearing in July.
“I, like many in Congress and the Administration, am encouraged by the positive news on vaccine trials to date. I am optimistic that we will have a vaccine available for distribution by the end of this year or early next year,” Blunt wrote. “However, as I expressed to you at the hearing, there will be no larger a failure than if the government is unable to distribute a safe and effective vaccine in a timely and equitable manner. Specifically, I am concerned that CDC’s ability to plan and execute a distribution strategy will be severely hindered absent agreement on another supplemental to provide the resources necessary for this effort.
“Therefore, I plan to hold another hearing in mid-September to better understand the Administration’s and CDC’s plan on COVID-19 vaccine distribution as well as to receive an update on overall COVID-19 response activities.”
Blunt specifically requests information from CDC about what has been done to plan for the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine, what criteria will be used to determine priority for the equitable distribution of the vaccine, and what resources will be needed to ensure a plan is in place as quickly as possible.
At a press conference yesterday, Blunt noted that CDC has said that a vaccine distribution plan should be ready as soon as late October.
The full text of the letter is available here.