Pallone Praises Biden Administration’s Leadership on COVID-19 Response and Requests Details on National COVID-19 Vaccine Plan
Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) wrote to White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients today, commending the Biden Administration’s swift action to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and requesting a briefing and written response on its efforts to quickly increase the number of Americans vaccinated across the country.
“I commend the Biden Administration for the swift actions it has taken to accelerate the administration of vaccines and to bolster our fight against COVID-19,” Pallone wrote. “My top priority is to combat this pandemic, and I intend to pursue an aggressive oversight and legislative agenda to ensure that the nation has the tools and resources necessary to crush this horrific virus.”
In the letter, the Chairman inquired about the impact of the Trump Administration’s failure to develop a comprehensive national COVID-19 vaccine plan and on the timeline for vaccinating the millions of Americans necessary to turn the corner on the pandemic.
“Last year, I called on the Trump Administration repeatedly to develop a comprehensive national COVID-19 vaccine plan beyond the Operation Warp Speed (OWS) framework. They never did,” Pallone continued. “We witnessed the results of the lack of a thorough plan in the early weeks of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign as reports of confusion rolled-in from across the country. That is why I was so heartened to see a comprehensive national COVID-19 strategy released on the second day of the Biden Administration.”
Pallone pledged to work together with the Biden Administration to increase vaccination efforts in the country. He also emphasized the need to address vaccination rate disparities among Americans who are Black and Hispanic. These communities have suffered significantly higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death compared to white Americans.
Pallone requested a briefing by February 25, 2021 and responses to a series of questions, including:
- How did the delay in transition activities and the state of the plans inherited by the Biden Administration impact the timeline for vaccinating Americans?
- What are the current status and future projections of the manufacturing capabilities and availability of each authorized and anticipated COVID-19 vaccine and the ancillary supplies necessary for providers to safely administer the vaccines?
- What additional steps to expand production capacity does the Biden Administration plan to take to increase the supply of COVID-19 vaccines and ancillary supplies to make them available to the American people as quickly as possible?
- What actions has the Biden Administration taken or intend to take to improve the communication and coordination of COVID-19 vaccination efforts across all levels of government and with providers to expedite the equitable administration of vaccines?
- When will the Biden Administration launch the COVID-19 vaccine national public education campaign as outlined in its national strategy?
- What steps has the Biden Administration taken or intend to take to address challenges raised with regard to data infrastructure, technological platforms, and digital tools utilized by the federal government and other jurisdictions?
- What actions has the Biden Administration taken or what does it plan to take to support providers’ and jurisdictions’ timely and complete reporting of demographic information, including race and ethnicity data, of those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine?
Read the full letter HERE.