March 24, 2020

Van Hollen, Colleagues Call for Task Forces to Streamline Vaccine Development, Medical Supply Chain

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, led by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), in sending a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging the Trump Administration to establish two temporary task forces, one to “expedite and coordinate the development of COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments,” and the other to “coordinate medical supply shortages and the development of innovative solutions to address these shortages.” 

“Working with members of your Administration, Congress is working to pass legislation that would inject funding into curtailing this pandemic, in part to ensure Americans can be tested and treated for COVID-19 and to enable a robust and adequate public health and economic response to mitigate the health, social, and economic damage caused by this virus. We need to do more to protect Americans during this crisis,” the senators wrote. “With such enormous costs, we cannot afford any delays because of medical supply shortages or barriers to finding safe and effective vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for this disease. We believe coordinating task forces focused on the following issues should be a priority and will further advance efforts to end the pandemic.”

“Without a central collaboration empowered to reduce as many barriers to medical product development and the distribution of supplies, the nation risks siloed efforts that could prolong our overall biomedical response to the global pandemic,” the senators added. “We are asking you to be intentional in developing this collaboration and we stand ready to partner with them moving forward.”

The letter was also signed by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Gary C. Peters (D-Mich.), John Kennedy (R-La.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.).  

The full text of the letter is available here