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Senator Hassan Questions Dr. Fauci and Other Top Public Health Officials on Children’s Vaccinations & COVID-19 Response

Dr. Fauci Tells Senator Hassan that By the End of the Year He Thinks that Children of all Ages Will Have Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan questioned Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as other top public health officials today during a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


To watch the Senator’s questioning, click here.


Protecting Young Children from the COVID-19 Virus


Senator Hassan began by directing a question to Dr. Fauci on protecting young children from the COVID-19 virus.


“We’ve been talking about the very good news of the Pfizer authorization for 12 through 15 year olds, and it looks like they may be seeking at least emergency authorization for 2-11 year olds in September,” Senator Hassan said. “That is really welcome news, but many families are still looking for guidance about how to protect children under the age of 12 from the virus until a vaccine is authorized for them, especially as public health restrictions are being lifted across the country.”


Dr. Fauci responded that there are clinical trials that are ongoing to get vaccinations for children under the age of 12.


“A bunch of companies, several of them, are doing what are called age de-escalation studies, where we’re looking at children 12-9, 9-6, 6-2, and then six months to two years. We think by the time we get to the end of this year, that we will have enough information to vaccinate children of any age,” Dr. Fauci said.


Accessibility of COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters


Senator Hassan went on to discuss the importance of ensuring that if a COVID-19 booster vaccine is necessary that it is accessible to all Americans, whose taxpayer dollars helped lead to vaccines’ research and development.


“It’s going to be really critical that these vaccines remain accessible and that their price reflects the large investments that American taxpayers made in the research and development of the technology,” Senator Hassan said.


Dr. David Kessler, Chief Science Officer for COVID-19 Response at the United States Department of Health and Human Services, agreed and said, “Because of what this Committee has done and you colleagues on Appropriations, we do have the funds to purchase the next round again if, if, they are necessary…and to assure that if there are boosters they are free.”   


Standing Up for New Hampshire Fishermen


Following questioning from Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Hassan also brought up the importance of providing guidance to the fishing industry regarding mask use while they are out at sea. Last week, Senator Hassan visited fishermen in Seabrook at the Yankee Fishermen’s Cooperative to discuss the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their industry.


“We’ve got boats of fishermen who are fully vaccinated and who see the Coast Guard coming telling them they have to keep their masks on,” Senator Hassan said. “Not only is a wet mask dangerous out on the open water, but because of the noise…these guys are used to relying on kind of sign language on the boat, and with a mask on they really can’t and it’s a real safety issue.”