Additional Tests for NH Follows Calls from Senator Hassan to Make Sure Testing Supplies Get to Areas of Highest Need
WASHINGTON – The Biden administration will direct 60,000 additional rapid antigen COVID-19 tests to New Hampshire as a direct result of Senator Maggie Hassan’s letter to the administration urging them to address the state’s shortage of testing supplies, a top Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) official told the Senator today during a committee hearing. After hearing from Granite Staters about a lack of testing availability and slow testing turnaround times, Senator Hassan urged the Biden administration to ensure that testing supplies are going to the areas with the highest need.
To watch Senator Hassan’s questioning click here.
“Your letter raised two key points,” said Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS. “One, the amount of time it was taking for some of your constituents to get the results, and the other was the lack of the over-the-counter tests in New Hampshire…The second issue was about the lack of over-the-counter tests. The team reached out to Abbott, and they have now secured the 60,000 tests that New Hampshire has ordered. They will come in 10,000 increments for six weeks, so you should have 60,000 tests in New Hampshire by Christmas.”
During a Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing, O’Connell also said the state informed the Biden administration that the turnaround time for PCR test results is averaging just over a day, but O’Connell said HHS will continue to monitor the issue.
Senator Hassan also pressed Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Janet Woodcock, on a bipartisan letter the Senator sent to the agency highlighting how the consulting firm McKinsey was working simultaneously for both opioid manufacturers such as Purdue Pharma and for the FDA on a variety of projects, including a “track and trace” system to monitor dangerous prescription drugs.
“It seems to me we have a major conflict of interest between McKinsey’s work for McKesson and Purdue at the same time it was working for the FDA on a track and trace system,” Senator Hassan said. “It’s something we really have to get to the bottom of it because I think it helped fuel the opioid epidemic which has devastated my state.”
Senator Hassan also questioned Dr. Anthony Fauci about whether he anticipates that the COVID-19 vaccine will be available for children under five by the end of the year. Senator Hassan previously asked Dr. Fauci when a vaccine would be available to children of all ages, and Dr. Fauci had told Senator Hassan that he believed a vaccine would be available to all children by the end of the year.
In response to the Senator’s most recent line of questioning regarding children under five, Dr. Fauci said that it was likely the vaccine would not receive emergency approval until next year.