December 10, 2020

Senator Hassan Statement on FDA Committee Vote on Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

Senator Previously Secured Commitment from the FDA that this Meeting Would Happen Prior to Vaccine Authorization

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) released the following statement after the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) independent advisory committee, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, voted to recommend emergency use authorization for Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine:


“To contain COVID-19 and get back to normal, we need a safe and effective vaccine that is widely distributed, and today’s committee vote is a crucial step forward in this effort. It’s important for Americans to know that the speed of this process is the result of a number of pieces coming together in the vaccine process, including that scientists used already-existing research to quickly create a potential vaccine and that we started manufacturing vaccine doses early, understanding that if the vaccine was not effective, they would be thrown away.


“Back in August, I teamed up with my colleagues across the aisle to ensure that in the COVID-19 vaccine review process, the FDA would keep its gold standard of vaccine review and have an independent committee thoroughly review the vaccine data and meet to discuss their findings. That’s what happened today, and it should give all Americans strong confidence in the vaccine, knowing that these independent experts believe that the data shows that the vaccine is safe and effective. Now the efforts to manufacture and distribute the vaccine continue, and I will keep working on a bipartisan basis to help ensure that Americans can receive a free COVID-19 vaccine so that we can get through this pandemic.”


Yesterday, Senator Hassan spoke with WMUR about the vaccine review process and her efforts to help ensure that this FDA committee met ahead of a potential vaccine authorization. You can watch her interview here.


In August, Senators Hassan along with Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced bipartisan 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. The bill would codify requirements that the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and FDA Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee each meet to issue recommendations on the safety and efficacy of vaccine products seeking emergency use authorization. In September, Senator Hassan secured commitments from the FDA and CDC that these committee meetings would happen, and the FDA committee met today.