August 06, 2020

KENNEDY, CLARKE, KELLY DEMAND ANSWERS ON NATIONAL VACCINE STRATEGY

Lawmakers push proactive distribution to communities of color & immigrants

Washington, D.C. – In a letter to President Donald J. Trump, Congressman Joe Kennedy III, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-09) and Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02) demanded answers about the Administration’s strategy to distribute vaccines to hot spots and the most vulnerable communities. Citing testimony by the five leading pharmaceutical companies developing COVID-19 vaccines, the lawmakers raised concerns that this Administration has continuously failed to protect immigrants and communities of color throughout the pandemic.

“It is not a matter of if, but when, our country will produce a safe and efficacious vaccine for COVID-19,” wrote the lawmakers. “With over 4.7 million cases and over 157,000 deaths in the United States, our country continues to suffer from the devastating effects of a lack of a cohesive national strategy when it comes to testing. Throughout this pandemic there has been a shortage of reagents, swabs, and pipette tips. We cannot allow this to happen again for a vaccine. We need to ensure that supply chains are in place and we are able to manufacture syringes, needles, vials, and everything needed to provide vaccines to the public. Delay in vaccine distribution should not again be tied to our inability to prepare. 

“We urge you to begin working with all stakeholders to proactively create a national vaccine strategy that ensures vaccines and the relevant material are available, affordable, and accessible to everyone and ensures that those most at risk, those your Administration has continued to overlook, are the first to receive a vaccine.”

In their letter, Kennedy, Clarke and Kelly demanded answers to the following questions by August 14, 2020:

1) Is the Administration currently working on a vaccine distribution strategy in parallel with vaccine development? 

2) What is the Administration’s plan for ensuring an eventual vaccine is equitably distributed among states and localities? 

3) What is the Administration’s plan for ensuring an eventual vaccine is available, accessible, and affordable to those in hotspots, those most at risk and vulnerable, and the rest of the public? 

4) What is the Administration’s plan for ensuring an eventual vaccine is available, accessible, and affordable to communities of color and immigrant communities? 

5) What is the Administration’s plan should new hotspots emerge during vaccine distribution and how will the distribution strategy adapt as case locations change? 

6) What is the Administration doing to ensure supply chains are in place to manufacture all critical vaccine supplies?

To read the full letter, please click here.

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