Fauci, other Biden health officials to testify on vaccination effort
Top Biden administration health officials, including Anthony Fauci, will testify in the House for the first time next week about U.S. vaccination efforts.
The March 17 hearing comes at a critical time, as manufacturers are ramping up production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and states are trying to balance the supply and demand to make sure vaccination efforts are equitable.
Three vaccines have already been authorized for use in the U.S., and President Biden said there will be enough doses by the end of May for everyone in America who wants a shot.
But it will take longer for the vaccines to be administered, and experts have said the administration will need a plan to help combat hesitancy and make sure no group is left behind.
The officials are likely to face questions about other vaccines in the pipeline, and how quickly they can be authorized. The U.S. has pre-paid for hundreds of millions of doses from companies like Novavax and AstraZeneca, but those vaccines have yet to come to the market.
There will also likely be questions about how vaccines will impact the spread of new, more contagious variants of the virus.
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, previously held a hearing with vaccine manufacturers where executives pledged to drastically increase the available supply.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will testify along with the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, as well as Peter Marks, who leads the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine center.
Walensky and Fauci have been among the Biden health officials holding briefings with reporters three times a week to give updates about the state of the pandemic.
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