Capitol Correspondence - 10.13.20

National Academies Releases Framework on COVID-19 Vaccines

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As an update on our previous coverage and advocacy on a proposed framework for how to prioritize COVID-19 vaccine distribution once a viable vaccine is developed, we share this announcement by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine:

“The National Academies released the final report of a consensus study recommending a four-phased equitable allocation framework that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and state, tribal, local, and territorial authorities should adopt in the development of national and local guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine allocation. Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine recommends using existing systems across all levels of government to provide necessary resources to ensure equitable allocation, distribution, and administration of COVID-19 vaccine; launching a COVID-19 vaccine promotion campaign and risk communication and engagement program; and supporting equitable allocation globally.”

Reaction from Congress: It is worth noting that U.S. Representative Richard Neal (D-MA), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, sent the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversees the National Academies, a letter raising concerns about this framework. Specifically, he expressed concerns that adults with disabilities and individuals with limited English proficiency could be excluded from HHS’ plans to distribute a vaccine.