At a Senate health committee hearing focused on efforts to get Americans back to work and school, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said it is critical that we are well prepared for a COVID-19 vaccination and also a possible second wave of outbreaks later in the year.
“Not only should we be working on this and preparing, but we need to look at the future, too,” Enzi said. “We’re fighting a virus at the same time scientists are learning about it, so we need to be nimble. We also need to be sure we’re prepared for a second wave of outbreaks that could coincide with the start of the flu season, potentially stressing our health care system more than it already has been.”
Enzi said that while we have made progress in vaccine development, there is a gap in preparedness with the domestic manufacturing of needles and syringes. According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, there is an “all-of-government approach” to ensure there are not only enough possible vaccines, but also a plan to administer them.
“We’ve been leaning in on this supply chain to ensure that when a vaccine is ready to go, we will have the necessary supplies to actually administer it and operationalize the vaccination,” Hahn said.
The panel of witnesses at the hearing included Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield, Assistant Secretary for Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Admiral Brett Giroir, and FDA Commissioner Hahn. All witnesses and most senators participated remotely to follow social distancing guidelines.