On September 9, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee convened a hearing to examine the Administration’s efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and increase uptake of regularly scheduled vaccines. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins testified about Operation Warp Speed (OWS) and the vaccine candidates currently under development. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams spoke about the importance of adult and child immunization during the pandemic.
Many Democrat members of the Committee expressed concern about how the FDA will remain free from political pressure during the vaccine approval process and ensure independence. Other Senators questioned the witnesses on vaccine safety and efficacy concerns, vaccine hesitancy, and vaccine cost and distribution.