October 06, 2020

Amid COVID-19 & Ahead of Flu Season, Senator Hassan Joins Bipartisan Letter Calling on the Trump Administration to Ensure Americans Receive Critical Immunizations

WASHINGTON – Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and ahead of flu season, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Tina Smith (D-MN) in calling on the Trump administration – in partnership with state and local governments – to ensure that all Americans continue to receive necessary immunizations to prevent additional illness and outbreaks.

 

In a letter to the leaders of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the bipartisan group of lawmakers called attention to low immunization rates, and highlighted the importance of ensuring that Americans, especially young children and older adults, receive the flu vaccine this year.

 

“A high influenza disease rate will make it difficult to distinguish between the [flu virus and the COVID-19 virus], resulting in diagnostic uncertainty,” the Senators wrote. “This can lead to mistreatment, coinfection, and confusion about how to respond to symptoms, further impeding public health properly.”

 

The Senators continued, “Vaccines are only effective in preventing outbreaks if enough people are immunized, achieving herd immunity. However, a recent Gallup poll found that if the federal government offered free, FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines today, 35 percent of Americans would not agree to be vaccinated…The high level of hesitancy among Americans for a COVID-19 vaccine is alarming and must be carefully addressed to achieve herd immunity. As Americans are recommended to receive their seasonal influenza vaccine by the end of October, we urge that the Administration carefully monitor the rate at which these vaccines are administered to avoid a dual outbreak of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza.”

 

Senator Hassan is focused on protecting public health, and recently introduced bipartisan legislation to increase maternal vaccination rates and ensure that these vaccines are free of cost for Medicaid enrollees. The Senator also led a bipartisan group of her colleagues in introducing legislation to maintain critical safeguards to help assure the public that a potential COVID-19 vaccine that receives emergency use authorization is safe and effective. Additionally, during a recent Senate hearing, Senator Hassan received commitments from the heads of the Food and Drug Administration and CDC that their agencies would conduct key oversight measures during the COVID-19 vaccine review process.

 

The Senators’ letter is available here.

 

###