WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and Sen. Tom Carper (both D-Del.) joined Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and other Senate Democrats in a joint letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar demanding the Trump administration take immediate action to fix the significant failures of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution as coronavirus cases continue to climb. In the letter, the senators call out the administration’s failure to develop and implement a comprehensive national vaccine plan, despite having months to do so.
For months, Senate Democrats have been imploring the Trump administration to work and communicate with state and local governments, vaccine and PPE manufacturers, public health experts, and health care providers to develop a plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration. These groups have been pleading for clear guidance and financial resources.
Senate Democrats underscore that a plan must include guidance and best practices on taking the vaccine from distribution to administration, provide all necessary resources to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and other jurisdictions, account for the significant challenge jurisdictions face in scaling up their workforces, and act to ensure vaccine distribution efforts also combat health inequities.
The administration must also launch a massive public facing campaign to promote vaccine confidence and help people understand where, when and how to get vaccinated. In the coming weeks, the senators emphasize that the Trump administration must engage with states to proactively identify and address challenges to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are quickly and equitably distributed and administered across the country.
Alongside Coons and Carper, the letter was signed by senators in the region, including Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).
Full text of the letter below and PDF HERE.