Harrisburg, Pa. − October 19, 2020 − Senator Maria Collett (D-12 Montgomery/Bucks) has introduced a bill memo for co-sponsorship to commit the Commonwealth to an equitable distribution of any future FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine based on the recommendations of leading national researchers. The legislation would also require that any approved vaccine must be available at no cost to recipients.
Drug manufacturers and the federal government have been working quickly to get a viable COVID-19 vaccine to market for the protection of our citizens. As this process moves forward, there is little doubt that the amount of vaccine manufactured will not initially be enough to ensure coverage for everyone in the United States. In fact, it’s estimated that as the first round of approved vaccines are released, there will only be enough to inoculate between 3% and 5% of the country’s population.
“As a former infection control nurse, I have a keen understanding of the value of vaccines to our public health and their role in protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said Senator Collett. “I have also seen the devastating implications of inaccessibly-priced but life-saving medications and therapies. That’s why I’m introducing legislation to ensure our Commonwealth has an equitable and responsible distribution plan in place that will provide vaccines at no out-of-pocket cost and prioritize our frontline health care workers, first responders, and at-risk populations.”
The prioritization framework of this legislation is based on the recommendations outlined by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in their final Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine Consensus Study Report, released on October 2, 2020. A copy of the report can be downloaded here.
It may be 12 to 18 months after an approved vaccine first makes it to the market before there will be enough vaccine to cover all our citizens. Until a sufficient supply exists to cover all Pennsylvanians, we should be ensuring that those who literally put their lives on the line during this pandemic and those who have the greatest risk of dying from COVID-19 are given priority access to these life-saving vaccines.