HomeWashington Letter2020 ▶ NIH Director Testifies Before Senate Panel on COVID-19 Vaccine
NIH Director Testifies Before Senate Panel on COVID-19 Vaccine

This week, NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD and Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, testified at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) hearing about COVID vaccine safety. Dr. Collins said he has “cautious optimism” that a vaccine will be available by the end of the year. “But even that,” he added, “is a guess.” He said that vaccine study results will be closely reviewed by an independent panel and that political issues will not be involved. In response to a question from Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) about diversity, Dr. Collins said that in the last few days, a public service campaign has begun in areas near where trials are underway to encourage Black Americans to sign up for trials. 

HELP Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) called on the public health agencies to outline how they will prevent political interference and ensure increased transparency. She recommended that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issue official guidance including standards for granting any vaccine an emergency use authorization, including criteria for independent review of Phase 3 clinical trial data, and to commit to make public any data used to approve a vaccine. 

Last Reviewed: September 2020