WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan received a virtual tour of Smiths Medical and heard about its efforts to manufacture integrated hypodermic needle and syringe products to administer a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m proud to have Smiths Medical here in New Hampshire playing such a huge role in our nation’s efforts to prepare for a potential COVID-19 vaccine. Smiths Medical employees are working around the clock to ensure that when we have a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, it can be distributed as quickly as possible,” Senator Hassan said. “I appreciated the opportunity to hear an update from Smiths Medical on their work, and I will continue to work to support their efforts to prepare for a potential vaccine.”
“We were glad to meet with Senator Hassan and virtually show her our production process,” said Darren Hodkinson, Regional U.S. Director of Operations at Smiths Medical. “We really appreciate Senator Hassan’s efforts to help us get the resources that we needed to increase production. We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Hassan and her colleagues as we do our part to get the nation ready for a COVID-19 vaccine.”
In April, Senators Hassan and Shaheen called on the administration to immediately address concerns regarding the domestic supply chain for hypodermic needles and syringes needed to administer a COVID-19 vaccine.
Later over the summer, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced that it awarded a $20 million contract to Smiths Medical to expand needle production capacity by 125 million units per year. The federal CARES Act that Senator Hassan joined in passing into law included $3.5 billion to BARDA to support these efforts.
Senator Hassan is also pushing to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine process is free from political interference and that a potential COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. During a recent hearing, Senator Hassan highlighted the importance of ensuring the safety and efficacy of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, and discussed the need for her bipartisan bill that would help maintain critical safeguards in the vaccine process. During a previous hearing, Senator Hassan asked Dr. Anthony Fauci about what is needed to mass produce and distribute a potential COVID-19 vaccine.