May 12, 2020

Senator Hassan Questions Dr. Fauci on COVID-19 Testing, Protecting Nursing Home Residents, Vaccine Production

Dr. Fauci on Nursing Home Protections: “Something that is much more aggressive than has been done in the past I believe should be done.”

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) today questioned Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, about what testing capacity is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 in communities across the country and in nursing homes in particular. Senator Hassan also addressed the importance of the administration preparing now to mass produce and distribute a potential COVID-19 vaccine. Today’s hearing was the first time since March that Dr. Fauci and other members of the administration’s COVID-19 task force appeared before Congress.

 

To watch Senator Hassan’s questioning, click here.

 

Senator Hassan asked Dr. Fauci about what needs to be done to protect nursing home residents and staff. Senator Hassan stated, “The White House is now requiring all staff to wear masks, and anyone in regular contact with the president be tested daily – do you think nursing homes should implement those same measures to help make sure that our seniors can get the same level of protection?”

 

Dr. Fauci stated that “There should be a system in place for the optimal protection of people in nursing homes – and that would be not necessarily testing every person every day…but something that is much more aggressive than has been done in the past I believe should be done.”

 

Senator Hassan also pushed the administration on potential vaccine capacity. “The U.S. needs to be preparing now to ensure that we have capacity to manufacture and administer vaccines, something that you’ve both touched on – both for an eventual COVID-19 vaccine as well as other illnesses such as the flu,” said Senator Hassan. “The failure to ramp up production of testing and personal protective equipment early on during this crisis made things worse here, and those mistakes can’t be repeated when it comes to vaccine production and distribution.”

 

Dr. Fauci said, “It’s a very good point,” and discussed the importance of investing the supplies necessary for a potential COVID-19 vaccine and not falling behind on other critical vaccinations for children in particular.

 

Senator Hassan has been pushing the administration to ramp up the production and distribution of COVID-19 tests as well as necessary medical supplies. Senator Hassan participated in a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee virtual roundtable last week where she stressed the importance of increasing the nation’s daily testing capacity, as well as a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing where she highlighted the importance of ensuring that COVID-19 tests are producing accurate results. The latest bipartisan COVID-19 package that Senator Hassan supported and was signed into law included $25 billion for COVID-19 testing, while also requiring the administration to put forward a plan to increase testing capacity, including testing supplies.

 

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