May 14, 2020 - Health

Ousted official: Government lacks plan to equitably distribute a vaccine

The United States does not have a plan to distribute a vaccine for the coronavirus "in a fair and equitable manner" when one becomes available, Rick Bright, a former health official ousted from his position last month, told the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday.

Why it matters: Bright, who led the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, cautioned that because one company cannot produce enough vaccine for the country, supply will be limited.

What he's saying: "We need to have a plan in place now to make sure that we can not only fill that vaccine, make it, distribute it, but administer it in a fair and equitable plan," he said.

  • Bright criticized the federal government's chaotic rollout of the coronavirus therapy drug remdesivir, which has been shown to help patients recover from the coronavirus more quickly than patients who receive no treatment.
  • "We have limited doses, and we haven't scaled-up production. And we don't have a plan on how to fairly and equitably distribute [remdesivir]."

The big picture: Bright said a vaccine may become available by "this fall, winter, or maybe even next spring." But he cautioned that the 12 to 18 month timeline that has been touted by some in the Trump administration is an "aggressive schedule."

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