Fauci to testify before Congress, provide update on U.S. vaccination efforts
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations panel – which oversees NIH, FDA and CDC – will hold a hearing tomorrow to hear directly from some of the nation’s top public health officials and get an update on the federal government’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its latest efforts to speed up distribution of the vaccine.
Among those set to testify at tomorrow’s hearing are: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the CDC, and Dr. Peter Marks, the head of FDA’s vaccine division.
The panel’s chair, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), said she’s looking forward to hearing from the officials and wants to know exactly what’s being done to ramp up distribution of the vaccine to more Americans.
“The Biden Administration has done some amazing things to help speed up production and distribution of the vaccine,” DeGette said, “but we still have a ways to go. We need to make sure everyone throughout our government is doing everything they can to get more shots into the arms of more Americans as soon as possible.”
The hearing comes one year after the U.S. declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency on March 13, 2020; and one week after Congress approved a massive $1.9 trillion COVID-relief bill that, among other things, provides $20 billion to speed up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the U.S.
The historic relief package comes nearly one month after the Biden administration began mobilizing 6,000 active-duty service members to help administer the vaccine to eligible individuals at 600 vaccine centers it has established at large venues across the country.
On Friday, just one day after signing the bill into law, the Biden administration announced it was launching the next phase of its strategy to further increase the number of vaccination sites and vaccinators across the U.S., and to make new tools – such as a centralized website to help Americans find when and where they can get the vaccine – available to the public.
The president also announced last week that he will direct states to make all Americans eligible for vaccination no later than May 1.
To date, more than 98 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, with over 35 million adults now fully vaccinated against the virus.
While public health officials remain optimistic over the increasing number of vaccinations that are now being administered daily across the county, they are becoming increasingly worried that prematurely lifting restrictions – such as mask-wearing mandates and capacity limitations on businesses and restaurants – could lead to another surge of the virus, particularly as new variants emerge.
Tomorrow’s hearing to provide an update on the government’s response to the virus, and what’s being to speed up distribution of the vaccine, will begin at 10:00 a.m. ET and will be streamed LIVE online at the following link: https://degette.house.gov/media-center/in-the-news/hearing-leading-the-way-forward-biden-administration-actions-to-increase
Following is the full list of witnesses testifying at tomorrow’s hearing:
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases National Institutes of Health
Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D.
Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention