August 6, 2020 Media

Colorado Politics: DeGette requests timeline for Trump Administration’s vaccination plan

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette has requested that the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say when they plan to release a national plan for vaccinating the U.S. populace against COVID-19.

“In our letter, we requested critical information about the Administration’s vaccine planning efforts and sought a copy of the plan itself,” wrote DeGette, referring to a communication that she and U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., sent to the White House in May. “More than two months later, we have yet to receive a response. According to testimony from senior Administration officials before this Committee on June 23, and before the Senate Committee on Appropriations on July 2, such a plan is still under development more than six months into the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Pallone chairs the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and DeGette heads the oversight and investigations subcommittee. In their latest letter dated Aug. 5, the lawmakers asked to know about the planned involvement of the U.S. Department of Defense in distributing a vaccine and of and various health organizations in developing guidelines.

“Despite the lack of a comprehensive plan, the White House and the Operation Warp Speed (OWS) initiative appear to be advancing decisions that will impact future COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts,” DeGette and Pallone wrote. “In an interview on May 14, 2020, President Trump indicated that the U.S. military would be mobilized to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine once it was available.”

They continued by expressing concern that “ongoing efforts do not appear to fully incorporate CDC, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and state, territorial, tribal, and local health departments, all of which have played critical roles in planning and implementing existing vaccine programs and prior outbreak responses.”

According to a fact sheet released by the White House on July 27, the nation is “seeing tremendous progress” on the vaccine-development strategy, but there was no mention of a distribution plan.