Crist Introduces Legislation to Enhance the Distribution Supply Chain for Coming COVID Vaccine

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Washington, DC, October 2, 2020 | comments

Washington, DC – U.S. Representatives Charlie Crist (D-FL), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) announced introduction of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and Production Act, legislation directing the rapid distribution of a coronavirus vaccine and putting the United States back on track in its efforts to stop the spread of the virus across the country.

Specifically, the legislation would require the President to use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to mobilize manufacturers and resources needed to produce the medical supplies necessary to quickly distribute a future COVID-19 vaccine.

As communities across the nation continue to combat the deadly impacts of COVID-19, the U.S. must prepare itself for the rapid distribution of a vaccine which will hopefully bring the pandemic to an end by achieving herd immunity.

Numerous officials within the private and public sector have signaled that our nation is not prepared for this massive vaccination campaign, including Dr. Rick Bright, former director of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, who estimated in May that the U.S. alone will need 850 million additional medical supplies such as syringes and needles in order to distribute the COVID shot. Other researchers have cited major shortfalls in facilities capable of manufacturing the 100 to 500 million vials needed for distribution, as well as shortages of band-aids, gloves, stoppers, and more to safely and effectively care for folks being vaccinated.

Working families continue to feel the impacts of the Administration’s failure to prepare for the pandemic, secure sufficient and accurate testing and lab capacity, provide enough personal protective equipment, and prepare the country to reopen safely.

Congressman Crist has introduced the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and Production Act to enable swift action that would save American lives.

“The Administration’s woefully insufficient response to this pandemic has left millions of Americans unemployed and thousands mourning the loss of their loved ones,” said Rep. Crist. “The virus has taken advantage of a chaotic Administration, marked by a consistent failure to look over the horizon. We cannot wait until a vaccine has been proven safe and effective to begin thinking about all of the vials, needles, refrigeration facilities, and the like that America will need to equitably distribute a vaccine.  By preparing now, our nation will be ready to bring an end to this pandemic, jump start our economy, and save American lives.”

“The President’s complete failure to respond to this crisis nationally has led to over 7.2 million cases and over 200,000 deaths in the country,” said Rep. Pocan. “For months, we have seen a failure to provide states with the necessary infrastructure for testing, contact tracing and combating this virus. We cannot allow this to happen when a safe vaccine is eventually approved. We must lay the groundwork now to prepare and produce the necessary supplies—from vials and needles to syringes and gloves—to be distributed equally and equitably. We cannot be unprepared any longer, this administration must utilize the Defense Production Act to mobilize the resources we need immediately.”

“While drug manufacturers continue to work hard at producing a safe and reliable vaccine to combat COVID-19, we know that production is only part of the equation,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “Ensuring that once a vaccine is produced, it can be quickly and efficiently brought to scale and distributed effectively is paramount. That’s why I’m proud to join with Rep. Crist and Rep. Pocan in introducing the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and Production Act.”

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