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tv   Health Officials on Global COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution  CSPAN  November 20, 2021 1:09pm-2:56pm EST

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download c-span now today. >> >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government, funded by these television stations and more, including cox. >> cox is committed to allowing people to have internet. bridging the digital divide one connected and engaged student at a time cox, bringing us closer. >> cox supports c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> federal health officials testify on the global distribution of covid-19 vaccines before house appropriations subcommittee. other topics include the covid-19 forecast and treatments for the virus. this runs an hour and 40 minutes.
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federal health official testifies on the global distribution of covid-19 vaccines before the house appropriations subcommittee. other topics include the 2022 covid forecast and treatments for the virus. his runs one hour 40 minutes. >> i want to acknowledge ranking member cole and all of our colleagues for joining this morning. i think you two are witnesses, dr. kessler, dr. pace, just -- dr. this broke -- disbrow. let me start by saying i am disturbed by the general lack of urgency in ensuring that every person across the world has access to the covid-19 vaccine. this pandemic has already sickened 200 million people and claimed more than 5 million lives across the globe. people are dying every day, yet no progress has been made to
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deliver more vaccines to the countries that are being left behind. even as many of us in the united states are receiving booster shots, fewer than 5% of people in low income countries have received a single dose. by some estimates, many people in low income nations will not have access to a vaccination until 2023, without significant increases in production and distribution. i sincerely appreciate the work by administration has done. this administration has been delivering vaccine doses abroad since june. so far, the united states has donated more vaccines than all other countries combined. it is also encouraging the president biden has pledged to donate at least 1.1 billion doses of vaccine by the end of next year, while calling for 70%
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vaccination in all countries by fall 2022. i'm particularly proud of the work dr. kessler has done during this pandemic and as former commissioner of the food and drug administration under the leadership of three american presidents. i welcome his testimony and applaud his commitment to the health and safety of people. i was pleased to hear the administration's announcement today of a new initiative to invest in domestic vaccine production, to increase by windows -- one million doses per year. that is the kind of effort we are looking for, but also i want to hear how we are going to accomplish that and oversee that distribution. i also want to note important role barda has played, working
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to scale up production of ppe and at home tests to vaccine and therapeutic treatments. i'm grateful barda has used funds provided by congress to work with covid vaccine manufacturers such as moderna and their many years of support for mrna along with decades of research at the nih that enabled moderna to produce the covid-19 vaccine. i want to commend the efforts of dr. pace, whose office will be instrumental, along with usaid and cdc in addressing vaccine equity efforts on the ground. on the other hand, it is shocking to me that we have not received full and unfettered cooperation from all of our partners in this effort, including private companies, such as moderna, making billions of dollars from u.s. taxpayers. the fact of the matter is, every
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day low income countries remain vulnerable to covid-19 is another date for the virus to mutate and adapt. if we fail to ensure access to vaccines, those countries will become breeding grounds for mu variant's that will be more transmissible or vaccine resistant. i don't believe we are moving fast enough. unless we take a more active role in significantly increasing vaccine production and accelerating distribution worldwide, sharing technology and expertise in scaling up health system capacity and strengthening multilateral institutions, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. putting ourselves at the risk of a fifth, sixth or seventh wave. we need to accelerate the production of covid vaccine by any means necessary, including by invoking all legal
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authorities at our disposal to compel these vaccine companies to work with partners in the u.s. and throughout the world. it is not just our moral imperative to ensure the health and safety of our friends across the globe, it is in our own self-interest. while the united states has donated more than vaccines than all other countries combined and has become a powerful leader in the fight to vaccinate the world, why is it taking so long to manufacture vaccine? why are we as a nation being held captive by a botched trump administration contract, that allowed moderna to ignore the involvement of the nih and benefit from millions of dollars in taxpayer funds? just this week, it was announced that moderna is close to making an agreement to pledge doses to low and middle income countries in 2022. this is a positive step forward,
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but not enough. i cannot understand why we are beholden to this company. people are dying, time is of the essence. in the midst of it all, but moderna is making billions of dollars, controlling vaccine production and negotiations of a vaccine the hhs help them create. this is unacceptable. an act h -- nih and barda must be progressive. this administration must be aggressive in pursuing every off -- every option to work around that contract and use every tool at its disposal to accelerate vaccine production, including the defense production act. president biden must be aggressive in compelling other countries to back the trips waiver which would allow more countries to manufacture more covid vaccines.
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when the wto meets later this month for its 12th ministerial conference, i will be watching to ensure the proposal on temporarily waving some intellectual property rights rules is excepted. i know these are serious and complex issues that cannot be easily resolved, but i also know that failure is simply not an option. this pandemic will not be over until it is over around the world. i hope that through this hearing, we can gain some clarity as to why we are not moving fast enough. why we are enabling a system that now -- enables pharmaceutical companies to profit off of global suffering and how we plan to vaccinate 8 billion people as soon human lee possible.
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with that, let me turn to the ranking member of the committee, congressman tom cole for any opening remarks. >> thank you, madam chairman. a quick house pete -- housekeeping piece of advice, i may have to leave at some point, i might not be here at the end, i want to stay for as much as possible. madam chair, the united states investments in biomedical research have paid the wait for it the fastest vaccine ever developed in art history. the strategic investments, with federal support have enabled the u.s. to lead the world in vaccine availability. as the president said, anyone who wants a shot can get one. that is a remarkable achievement and we are fortunate to be in such a position. i want to thank the thousands of government and private sector employees who worked tirelessly to make this reality.
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operation warp speed remains one of the most undervalued achievements of the last administration. i will associate myself with your chair -- with your remarks about helping less fortunately situated countries get the vaccine as rapidly as possible. those are worthy goals, important questions that need to be raised and answered. we are here today to discuss the united states government can do to bolster global supply of covid vaccine, but before we delve in, i want to spend a few minutes on something i find troubling. the build back better legislation contains just $3 billion for pandemic preparedness. that is less than .2% of the total. let us think about that, neared leave -- nearly $2 trillion in spending and .2% is dedicated to
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the next pandemic. less than half is for research and development. such a demand to miss account devoted to such a critical function should be unacceptable to everyone. you are far more likely to die from the pandemic than terrorist attack. sadly the results of the last two years have shown how devastatingly true that is. i would hope the majority's effort to build a better tomorrow would recognize the need to invest in substantial way in biomedical and bio defense research enterprises. i find this omission another sign of shortsightedness that we see throughout the legislation. the short-term extensions and unreasonable -- i also want to acknowledge the chairs remark contains six times as much
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funding compared to the build back better bill, with nearly seven times less money. while i still believe we need to invest more in bio defense infrastructure, i am pleased to see the levels proposed in the chair's physical appropriations for the subcommittee. i know we strongly port access to child care, improving our nation's schools and paving the way to affordable higher education for all children. she also recognizes that the human infrastructure investments we cannot neglect the biomedical and bio defense infrastructure. she supported these programs and i hope she sustains that level of going forward. we have always found these areas in agreement, to serve as the basis for our partnership for six years. i also want to recognize that in our annual funding bill, she is proposing nearly the same amount of funding is what we put
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forward in the build back better bill, which covers up to 10 years. i think this shows the subcommittee, more than any other, understands how important these programs are. underinvestment here ensures the nation will be less prepared for the next outbreak. i led with the importance of the continuing event -- investment in biomedical research and programs like barda because it was that funding that enabled the united states to be the current leader in global covid vaccination donation. the u.s. has donated and delivered more than 235 million doses of covid vaccines to more than 100 countries. i am pleased at the more aggressive plans the administration has unveiled in recent days. in addition to efforts by the federal government, vaccine manufacturers have made commitments to increase production and availability, to ensure vaccination becomes a global reality.
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as proud as i am of our nation, leading the way, the united states should not have the sole responsibility for vaccinating the global population. this shared problem and a shared responsibility. in addition, the department of health and human services should not be responsible for vaccinations abroad. i understand the agency may have a supporting role to the department of state and usaid, but events over the last 18 months have shown we have enough challenges domestically for hhs to focus on and should not try to achieve objectives beyond its responsibility and capability. i would like to end by noting now is the time for us to be looking at opportunities for the next generation in vaccine technology, development of new therapeutics and more affordable diagnostics. i know some of those efforts are underway, but too much focus has been given to the continuing of the status quo.
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if we continue that approach, we will not achieve global vaccination for years to come. we need to look to new technologies to achieve our goal and should not be neglecting those investments now. i also think we need to expand our focus to future threats. now is the best time to leverage what we have learned about covid and begin research into new countermeasures and potential passages. we know the devastation they can because by a new virus. we need to do a better job to identify future threats on the horizon and work on medication now. waiting for the next virus to strike and hoping it is far in the future is foolish. the more we shortchange our preparedness today, the less prepared we are for what may be around the corner. i want to thank our witnesses for their time today. i look forward to their testimony.
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that, i yield time. >> thank you. now i would like to turn to our witnesses. host: dr. kessler, dr. pace, dr. disbrow, director of biomedical research and developmental authority at barda, the department of health and human services. her first witness is dr. david kessler, your full written test might will be included, you are now recognized for five minutes for your opening statement. welcome to the committee. >> thank you, chair, ranking member, distinguished members of the committee, i'm david kessler, i'm honored to be serving as chief science officer for the covid-19 response. thank you for having me here
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today and for the opportunity to testify before you. i had the great privilege of working closely with my colleagues from the department of health and human services, dr. pace, dr. disbrow for also appearing before a today. the united states is leading the effort to vaccinate the world. we have probably donated more doses than all other countries combined. we will continue, and must continue to donate more doses. currently, we are donating $1.2 billion to the -- 1.2 billion doses to the world. as of today, 250 million donated doses have been shipped to 108 countries. for every one shot we have put in the arm of an american, we are donating about three shots globally.
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because of what you have allowed hhs and usaid to do, we are spending over $11 billion on global vaccine supply. we continue to encourage our international partner to share more doses and expedite delivery of those array committed. to date we are announcing that to meet short and long-term needs, both domestically and globally, the united states government is seeking to enter into a historic partnership with one or more experienced pharmaceutical manufacturers to increase mrna vaccine u.s.-based production capacity for domestic and global use by at least one billion doses annually, not later than the second half of 2022. this will allow us to address the current covid-19 pandemic and prepare for future pandemic response efforts.
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i want to be clear that i continue to engage vaccine manufacturers to increase production and availability of vaccines for low and middle income countries. we share your urgency and passion to make sure we are a leader in making available vaccines for low and middle income countries. as part of those conversations, we negotiated a deal with moderna and the african union, where the united states defers deliveries of 33 million doses, allowing the au to buy 110 million moderna vaccine's. we also broke through a logjam and brokered a deal between moderna and covax to reach an agreement or covax will purchase to date 56 million doses of moderna vaccine. but moderna is retroactively
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discounting doses already sold to covax because of the united states government's intervention. we expect the number of doses moderna will make available to covax will increase in the next few weeks. let me tell you about another step we took that is a first, the united states government brokered an historic deal with j&j and covax to facilitate the first delivery of covid 19 vaccines to people in conflict zones that cannot be reached by government vaccination campaigns. the usg and covax worked with j&j to waive liability for doses , pioneering a novel approach to give donated doses to ngos to administer to people in conflict zones and humanitarian settings. u.s. negotiated a path for
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300,000 doses of j&j to humanitarian workers around the world. as he administration continues its work, we need the world to do more. we need other countries to step up against this virus, like the united states is doing. thank you, i am happy to answer your questions. >> our next witness is dr. boys -- lowest pace. your full written testimony will be included in the record. you are recognized for five minutes for an opening statement. >> good morning, we have seen the numbers, covid has caused more than 5 million deaths worldwide, more than half in low and middle income countries. vaccination rates in those countries are in the single digits. less than 10% of the populations in africa is vaccinated compared to more than 50% in north america and europe.
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i want to thank you, chairwoman, ranking member and your esteemed colleagues for convening today to talk about global vaccination rates in the role our government should play in driving matt. two things i want to say up front one, this is not up to us, it is going to take actors from all over the world, government officials, industry leaders, philanthropists and others to make this happen. this is why the president convenes those stakeholders and call them to fulfill their promises and close the access gap. he issued this challenge not only for vaccines, but also treatments, tests and critical supplies. number two, the u.s. is doing its part, playing a lead role and practicing what we. -- what we preach.
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millions of people protected by the aspirants thanks char commitments -- protected from this virus thanks to our commitments and actions. we have companies in asia and africa to defend manufacturing and call for technology transfer to facilitate those efforts. the world needs more, which is why our work continues. we are not letting up. those of us in the center of this work know what happens if we don't follow through. not only could we face the consequences of covid, but we continue to burden our health workforce, supply chains and overall society with an ongoing and seemingly never ending pandemic. not only our efforts practical, they are personal. we hear those accounts every day. many of us have lived and worked in countries lacking what they
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need. some of us have friends and family there, managing and unsettling reality and all too common story of persistent health disparity. i take calls from colleagues around the world describing what life is like without access to vaccines. those are tough conversations, recognizing how great the demand is worldwide. they are easier when we can offer help, and we do. our ministry talks about their national vaccination campaign and how to maximize -- we've engaged for regulators and researchers some more product comes to market when and where it is needed. we've worked with policymakers from africa to asia to latin america and the caribbean on real-time responses throughout this crisis. helping to establish or reinforce surveillance systems and essential services required to succeed.
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in kenya or mexico, -- when can you or mexico needed vaccines, they reached out to us, when brazil or india found themselves in prices, it was the same. our hundreds of international staff focus on global health security or contacting the secretary immediately, governments around the world looked hhs to solve their problems. that is this true in this pandemic is a other time. our track record speaks for itself. founded on decades of international relationships that been tested through other health crises like a bullock, as he got an hiv. you can do this together. in the spirit of partnership, it is critical to showing up in the world in a way that matters. from day one, the president has talked about the importance of international cooperation as part of our covid response. his administration has committed
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to using equity as a guiding principle, while ensuring we address disparity cross countries, we must do so within country. i want to be able to tell a different story, one that adds countries -- meeting our global goal of 70% coverage for covid vaccine. a world focused on getting back to life rather than fearing another variant. i want to thank you again and remember this time as a moment when we did right by one another. we have both a strategic imperative and immoral one to deliver what we can come up where we can, working to end this pandemic once and for all. >> thank you very much. our next witness is dr. disbrow, your full written testimony will be entered in the record.
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you are recognized for five minutes for your opening statement. >> -- i would like to start by thanking the committee for their support over the years during this pandemic. [indiscernible] we continue to play a critical role in the development of vaccines to bring forth these lifesaving medical countermeasures. we have invested over $49 million against covid-19. including 16 billion dollars in therapeutics. we have supported the delivery of over 500 million doses of vaccine. the delivery of therapeutics and diagnostic tests.
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we are proactive in engaging with our stakeholder community and have been since the beginning of the pandemic. we established a portal to act as a single point of entry for parties interested in working with the u.s. government. today, we received over 4500 submissions to the portal. we made an initial investment to jumpstart the development. we received -- we reviewed our portfolio [indiscernible] the initial investments laid the groundwork for the operation warp speed. we have supported the development of vaccines
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including --. vaccines are now available for primary users and booster doses including adolescence and others. what we have accomplished an 11 months shows what we can do working forward together. we have supported the collaboration between johnson & johnson and others. we provided funding to help with manufacturing facilities to expand production of the jmg vaccine. in addition to the direct support for the development of vaccines, we have worked with
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the international corporation to expand manufacturing capacity for vaccines. we initiated efforts to expand domestic manufacturing capacity with the critical components necessary. we have provided funding under the american rescue plan to expand capacity of raw materials, consumables, needles and syringe is in vials. expanding production of these actsing components is critical to support vaccine production. the administration is committed to donating over 1.2 million doses of vaccine. and 500 million doses are being donated under the usa jpl contract. an additional 500 million doses
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of vaccine will be purchased. we recently modified a contract with moderna to support that company's commitment to make the vaccine available to the african community. thank you for inviting me to testify before you on efforts to support the covid-19 --. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you for your testimony. we now welcome questions. i will start. i will be frank. you know that i am. the air responsible monopolistic behavior of moderna is infuriating. why dare not has made billions of dollars in profits -- moderna
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has made billions of dollars and profits. the company's refusal to recognize nih's role in the development of the vaccine. does refuse to cooperate with partners for increase production of its vaccine. that is unacceptable. my questions are -- why is moderna able to limit the reduction of vaccine? what is the administration doing to compel the company to increase production as well as distribute the vaccine at a reduced cost to low in --no income countries? how will the administration guarantee that moderna meet its commitments? should nih receive coownership interest in the vaccine? >> the government's position is
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this -- the mrna 1273 is the moderna vaccine and it was coinvented by government and moderna scientists. however, moderna has so far refused to name the government scientist to the principal patent application. that'd apprise nih of coownership interest in that application and the patent eventually -- and the patent that will eventually issue from edge. regarding your questions about what we have asked moderna to do and what we expect -- we have gone to the extent of calling in and we discussed with the chair of the board of moderna, members of the board, as well as the senior management of moderna.
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very explicitly, we have asked moderna to do four things. one, we have asked them, in the short term, now, not eight quarters from now, but to provide the african union with doses. to their credit, they have stepped up and with our colleagues in the african union and through the fact that the united states a sickly deferred our doses so the doses could go to the african union, that has helped. number two, we have told moderna that we expect them to help fill the supply gap with covax at not-for-profit prices with significant doses. we will hear, i expect, over the next several weeks, the results
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of those discussions that are currently underway between novavax and moderna. number three, we have a commitment from moderna to build a plant, manufacturing capacity, on the african continent. that is very important to us. chairwoman, you know i chair the pediatric aids foundation and we have been with you for 30 years. we have worked on the continent with hiv and i understand if there is a manufacturing capacity on that continent, that continent will not be last in line. it is just that simple. we have the commitment from moderna and we will see what their follow-up is. lastly, as we testified this morning, we have asked all manufacturers with experience in
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mrna to help us expand that capacity for both global and u.s. needs for both pandemic and covid and we would like the assistance from moderna with that. a lot to be done. we are watching closely. the president is watching closely. these needs are absolutely essential. >> thank you. i have a short period of time remaining but i need to ask a question -- the nih scientist, you offered at the outset, that there was a coinvented. are we going to have them labeled and listed as principal patent application as coinventor? and thereby getting coownership interest in the vaccine which as you know opens the door to the
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u.s. being able to deal with some of these issues? i really want to know if i can very quickly -- what is our guarantee that is going to happen? >> that is the united states' government position, madam chair. >> ok. and i want to be able to guarantee and you said that we have a way that we can talk further about guaranteeing that moderna meets all of the commitments it has made. thank you. let me yield two ranking member call. >> thank you, madam chair. i have some informational questions that will help me get a better idea of the task in front of us. how much funding remains for the additional doses be it booster
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shots for adults or children? >> ranking member cole, how much money remains? >> i am curious what we may need to do going forward, and how quickly we need to do it. >> we have assured adequate supply for boosters for all americans and that is also true for adolescents and children. obviously, the question beyond that -- i always try to stay one step ahead of where we are so the good news is we really, through your help, i mean, this should not be underestimated or understated, we could not have done what we have done in providing primary vaccines, boosters, adolescents, school age children, without the help
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of this committee and we have done that. >> you are kind to say that. how much funding remains for the purchase of international vaccines? what do we need to look at going forward to fulfill the commitments that our country has made? >> let me if i may let director pace answer that question. >> thanks for the question. it is our understanding that we have the funding available to fulfill the president's commitment of 500 million pfizer vaccines. jan that, funds from the american rescue plan are being used towards vaccine readiness and ensuring shots get into arms once they are delivered. >> this may be more appropriate to you and i will let you decide.
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i trust your judgment. i am curious of what we have committed and how much has been distributed? i know there are a lot of logistical problems involved in a distribution like this. if you could address that a little but also because i know that will impact the speed with which you can get what you have out the door. >> with the initial transfer of 500 million pfizer doses being distributed by our partner at usaid, we have -- that of gone out. an additional 500 million will go out later this year. followed by the addition of 500 million that the president committed at the summit on the second of september. and i deferred to my colleagues for anything i may have missed in that regard. >> do you have any additional information you would like to provide? >> in addition to the usaid
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doses that director pace mentioned, a vaccine purchased by hhs for the next six years as vaccine supply exceeded the demand, we also donated over 133 million doses to over 95 countries. >> i don't have a lot of time. we thank you all for your efforts. i would ask you to keep the committee abreast -- this is an issue that i don't think anything should be at risk fulfilling our important international commitments. we want to make sure you have the resources you need in a timely fashion particularly given some of the logistical problems involved in dealing with a global project.
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conditions broadly are very difficult. >> thank you. congresswoman play. >> thank you chairwoman and thank you for this hearing. i think everyone agrees that it is imperative that the united states leads the fight because we will not be able to end the pandemic and americans will continue to be under threat unless we can find a way to get every country in the world to vaccinate its people. i want to focus on the equity issue. dr. kessler, you mentioned the capacity -- the manufacturing capacity on the continent of africa. in terms of the united states providing the support for the
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manufacturing of pharmaceuticals on the continent of africa. we know it is a challenge. how do we increase vaccine manufacturing on the continent of africa using united states' leveraging with companies and pharmaceuticals? what could be a plan or do we have a plan? and to director pace, let me ask you, last time i looked, it was pretty dismal in terms of the caribbean and the numbers of vaccine and the percentages that had been distributed on the continent of africa and in the caribbean. and this was about a month ago that i looked at those numbers. it was horrible. where is the problem at? are we getting any better in
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countries of africa? we see in equities in black and brown countries throughout the world. i want to know why we are seeing this? >> thank you for that question. i will address the first part of your question. as david mentioned, ensuring we have a vaccine manufacturing facility on the african continent will ensure that those people are not last now or in the next pandemic. as you are aware, beyond tech has made a commitment to building a facility and supporting a facility on the african continent. and moderna is also committed to supporting a facility on the african continent. and we are also working with our colleagues elsewhere to establish a vaccine hub on the
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african continent. even though this is not directed or funded directly through usg efforts, funds that a been provided to moderna and pfizer to venue factor vaccine has enabled them to expand facilities in africa. i think it is important that the who and countries -- and companies collaborate so there is a concerted effort to make sure that the vaccine manufacturing facility or facilities established in africa can be sustained in the long run . that is my biggest concern. everyone is making these concerted efforts, but we need to make sure it is coordinated so we can sustain this beyond this pandemic. >> thank you. director pace? >> regarding the caribbean in
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particular, the chair was asking about where they have been in terms of vaccinations. now, we are facing a pivot point. they have received the vaccine and we are working closely with them on readiness. one of the challenges is around demand. the same issue we face in this country. the availability and accessibility was there but we still have to work through community engagement to ensure that people get further shots. further, there are logistical and operational issues. particularly with some of these mrna vaccines. and finally, there are workforce constraints. especially as we continue to pull from other programs. that presents a challenge.
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>> we have the same challenges as we do on the african continent. we don't have a comparable cdc in the caribbean. you were saying that we have seen better results on the continent of africa because the cdc is there. >> i appreciate the work that the african cdc has done and yet they require additional support from our cdc and others so we are working hand in glove with them and the african region office. we are making progress along the way. >> thank you. a quick note. it really is about not just the vaccine but about the skill development and the skills training required and the technical assistance required in terms of capacity building.
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those are the critical ingredients i think we need to focus on. congressman harris. >> thank you very much. thank you, all for appearing this morning. dr. kessler, the vaccines -- as background, i think what we are talking about is using last year's technology with this year's problems or next year's problems. these vaccines that we are talking about giving to other countries were enabling other countries to get, these are the leaky vaccines. it is pretty clear now that this generation of vaccine that we are talking about giving other countries are leaking vaccines. people that get these vaccines can get coronavirus. is that true? >> these vaccines, congressman, you and i over our colleagues --
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over our careers, we trained together at hopkins and i think we have seen a lot of vaccine development. i have never seen vaccines developed in this short a period of time that are this effective. they are remarkably effective. no medicine, no therapy is 100% effective. you and i know that. but, these are remarkably effective. >> but they are not as effective as we hoped they would be. i don't think anyone anticipated that we would get boosters in six months. i am just telling you. i tell -- i talk to people out in the real world. they were promised that these vaccines were like the others they have taken. if they got the vaccine, they would not have to get a booster in six months. i don't think there is any other
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vaccine we administer that you get a booster in six months. is that correct? >> go back to your basic immunology. remember that? >> i have very limited time. is there any other vaccine that you need a booster in six months? >> the majority vaccines require three doses. >> dr. kessler, come on --this is important. we not only have to get the doses to africa. we have to get boosters to africa. let me move on. >> congressman, this is really important. >> i am the one that asks the questions. >> if i may answer the question. >> let me ask a question about distribution. >> i would allow you to do that.
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i will provide the time. dr. kessler, answer the question. >> excuse me. >> i have five minutes. i have more questions. the witness says cannot filibuster. >> you are raising doubts about the efficacy of the vaccine and that is wrong, sir. >> i am a scientist. you are a scientist. science raises questions about everything. >> it is very important. you are undermining the confidence of the american people and the world in this vaccine and that is wrong, sir. >> i am glad you have decided what is right and wrong. is it true that it did not fund the phase three trials for remdesivir which looks like it will be the breakthrough
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therapeutic. is that true? >> that is true. >> despite sending billions of dollars, the decision was made not to fund a phase three trial of a drug that now could be made available to millions of people worldwide who get covid, even maybe from a leaky vaccine or are unvaccinated. i am going to come back to dr. kessler. what are you doing as the covid czar to see to it that therapeutics are rapidly advancing through the fda? it is very cheap and could be widely available as a second pronged approach. if you could answer about therapeutics. >> from day one, therapeutics have been very high on our agenda. we invested $3.2 billion.
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we are the ones that work with merck and pfizer, the nih developed, and wrote the protocol so the pfizer antiviral that we are seeing is having very important results going before the fda. we are pushing them very hard. i would like to work with you, congressman, to make sure that once the fda has reviewed the data, that antivirals in addition to vaccines, complementing and not substituting for vaccines, i want to get a safe and effective antiviral accessible to all so we can turn this around. that is what i would like to work with you on, sir. >> thank you and i look forward to that. i yield back. >> thank you, madam chair and to the witnesses. my apologies for the cultlike
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fervor that could cost american lives. i still want to say apologies because it is rather embarrassing to watch this. my questions are specifically around the distribution and -- four questions around distribution. cold change. i believe zambia has a concern where the vaccines go to the proper cold storage. they talked to some of the folks that are the insurers who put thermometers in the products and they see spikes going to 45 degrees in the cold storage overnight. concerned about how closely we are watching the cold chain aspect and the deliverable nature of power specifically to
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countries of africa. are we putting resources into the human distribution of the vaccines? that is one issue i have heard could be another factor especially in third world countries. are we -- by doing this, are we investing in infrastructure so that whatever we are doing with the vaccines could have positive health ramifications in these countries? and number four, could you talk about the democratic -- demographic discrepancies? men rather than women and other populations are not getting the vaccine. what are we doing to try to address that? i thought i would put all four questions out there and whoever on state answer>> i'm happy to . thank you, congressman, for those questions.
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one of the things we are trying to do is build on existing products and platforms. we talk about leveraging the platform, not to put that under constraint, but to utilize the help for force supply chain and other capacity in place in country to help speed up the rates of covid vaccinations. we are hopeful that by adding additional resources and support to these national vaccine campaigns, that they will be able to address existing programs. on the point of reaching women or other special populations, we know from other immunization programs that is key. we are focused on historically marginalized groups, and our efforts working with the who or other community-based
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organizations in particular. i will say one thing about the cold chain support, which is just where factoring that into our readiness analysis and ways we can provide technical assistance, through -- a package of technical assistance that is part of our global vaccination strategy. it is critical to think about other vaccines that required the same level of logistics. >> director pays, i think you answered the question well. i don't have anything to add. >> can i follow up on the cold storage, this is a very reliable source that the insurance companies are gauging the temperatures, they are seeing spikes up to 45 degrees at night. how do we know, yes they might
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have the right cold storage, but how do we note the vaccine is still secure at that level, are we doing extra to ensure they are keeping the temperature, so we are not giving a non-useful vaccine to people? >> i think it is critically important we work with the countries there receiving the vaccines to make sure have ample not only primary power, but secondary as well. we had to do this during the 2014 outbreak of a bola. to make sure they had primary power and backup generators, you have to ensure the cold chain is maintained to make sure the vaccine is protected. >> thank you, i yield back. >> thank you, madam chair, i
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would like to thank the chairwoman and all of the witnesses for their comparing test -- compelling testimony today. taking this opportunity to highlight our country's role in distribution efforts. we've heard testimony today about the great success of operation warp speed. i think we have to underline success. the previous administration worked diligently with me and -- vaccine manufacturers, we are still working to administer primary doses and boosters to individuals who voluntarily wish to be immunized. what i think forced vaccine mandates are counterproductive and send the wrong message on immunization, i'm happy to note that the domestic production meets current demand in this country. that is something all of us can be proud of regardless of our branch.
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in regards to the global vaccine distribution, dr. kessler has stated that the united states is pledged to distribute more covid-19 doses than all of other countries combined, 1.2 billion doses worldwide. the effort will provide much-needed relief for lower income countries. i think that is a goal we share on both sides of the aisle. that being said, i heard concern from one of the manufacturers, moderna, about that effort. i think this point is important to be made in the sense of the position. twice in 2021, the biden administration requested contractual modifications required moderna to accelerate and prioritize deliveries from its u.s. factories to the united states government. these were contractual
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modifications that were made with the government emma moderna. i question, for dr. kessler is how could moderna have supplied more doses to covax under these conditions? >> moderna has the ability to supply united states and covax with the doses that are needed. moderna has that capacity, and we hope that they use it. >> it appears they are trying to do that, but given the contractual modifications they were faced with, you would agree that did place additional constraints on them? >> early on, you are exactly right. the president's position was that it was important to get americans the vaccine.
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and to do that, also the world. we have done that, we have plenty of vaccine year, we are donating that. now it is up to moderna. we will see over the next couple of weeks. we have enough vaccine in the united states, but moderna has sufficient capacity, i hope the deal between covax and moderna get signed. >> i appreciate your response. i think united states can be proud of all the manufacturers, including the moderna and the others for stepping up in unprecedented times. we can look back now and say should've been done differently, but i think the united states came together, all of us, to work towards combating this
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covid pandemic. as we go through this, madam chair, i think sometimes we need to praise some of the people as we continue to move forward. we are going to be faced with this situation again, with another pandemic or epidemic, we what private companies to partner with the government to get to our end goal. with that, i yield back in the spirit of cooperation. >> i think the gentleman and i say i understand the cooperative relationship between pharmaceutical companies and the federal government, i should think the pharmaceutical companies need to acknowledge the serious role that the national institutes of health and the government played in getting its product to market and the fact it has gotten a product to the market prior to the infusion of capital and
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technology that resides with the national institutes of health with the three nih scientists who coinvented. that ought to be acknowledged in a very public way. they should not be frozen out of that process. with that, let me recognize the congresswoman. >> thank you madame chair and to the witnesses for your testimony. i want a clarification on a couple of things i have heard. number one, you keep referring to 2022. are you telling me we are going to need masks and be vulnerable into the second half of 2022? can i get that from each of you quickly, yes or no? i will start with you? am i being heard? c-span.org >> will we need to be masked and
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-- >> in the second half of 2022. as out of the year that we mentioned -- to get us where we need to be. i am trying to understand why future here. >> congresswoman, i go to bed every night, before i go to bed i look at the numbers for the day and i've been asked one of the hardest jobs i have, the opportunity to brief the president was to be able to project where we are going to be in four weeks, eight weeks, by the end of 2022. anyone who tells you they know where we are going to be, i think it is not accurate. the most important thing is these vaccines, able to prevent
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hospitalization and death. if you are vaccinated, as long as you're not immunosuppressed, these are protectors, these prevent hospitalization and death from covid. >> >> i hope with the antiviral, literacy with the fda does, i think we are going to have significant -- vaccines policy antiviral, the first time i can sit here and i'm beginning to see a way we can get this under control, not get rid of the virus entirely, i am sorry for going on. >> thank you, dr. kessler. if we can't do better, on the continent of africa and in the caribbean, even if we are doing
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better in terms of total vaccinations and boosters, does that negatively impact our well-being here? i guess i'm going to give that to dr. -- i'm sorry -- dr. disbrow. >> until everybody gets vaccinated, or the vast majority, the 70% that the administration -- that goal, their potentials for variance to arise, so we need to maintain our vigilance and do everything we can to make sure that the covax commitments are meant. -- are met.
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>> i want to interfere, i want to ask two quick questions they can be answered by you or anybody. number one, how many variants are we monitoring now, and what is happening in countries with regards to variants if they don't have access to the vaccines we are talking about. there vaccine capacity manufacturer presence on the continent of africa, are we talking about 2022, 2023? >> to answer your second question first, the commitments in 2022, for your first question, there is an interagency group which is made
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up of experts -- subject matter experts from across the government working with who to evaluate the monitor at different variants of concern and interest, testing this variance against monoclonal antibodies we have as well as the vaccines we have. >>, he are there, do you know? how many variants we are tracking, monitoring? >> it differs. >> thank you, madam chair, i yield back. >> congressman kline. >> thank you madam chair, i want to thank her witnesses and the committee for working in a bipartisan manner with both the previous administration and this administration to distribute as many vaccines as possible, as my
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doses as possible through operation warp speed development of the vaccine was critical, distribution is ongoing and remains important. dr. kessler, a moderna is the only country to pledge -- do you support this plan? >> yes. >> they've also offered nih coownership, including the opportunity to co-license back, what is the size of that offer? >> i will look to the lawyers nih and department of justice were handling this respond. i'm not part of those discussions. >> but it is safe to say they are ongoing? >> let me defer to counsel on negotiations with regard to the patent issues.
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>> counsel is not testifying today, if you could give me the information, that would be helpful. moderna was not invited to testify today to defend themselves against some of the allegations that have been made. dr. kessler, recent event by yale law school saying it will likely take several years to build vaccines to sell in places like south africa, and these facilities would not be right in time to help with this pandemic, is that correct? >> the manufacturing capability will take several years. we have done that, but saying that is still very important, we have to prepare for future pandemics. that is why we are working hard, and expect moderna be able to work with covax to get doses now to low and middle income countries and to the au as well as prepare for the future.
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>> inc.. dr. disbrow, is it true that my that was -- was diverted to nih for other purposes? >> i would have to check with the assistant secretary for finance and resources for hhs. barda -- we had the funds provided to them. >> if it comes to find it was diverted, do you believe it should have been diverted, the ability of engine -- to find other solutions besides injectable vaccine? i think -- >> i think it is important we look at other technologies. i know vaccine is being developed that is an oral vaccine as well as one that is nasally administered.
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they are evaluated, especially for pandemic preparedness for the future. >> i would agree, it is important, there are significant complexities involved in manufacturing, storing and transporting mrna vaccines. you would agree that rather than forcing companies to give up their intellectual property, we could -- should be or urging them to develop other forms? >> we work with companies from all different sectors. we are happy to have those engagements, the mcm portal that companies can submit their ideas emma we have tech watch meetings -- they can submit their ideas to us and we would be happy to meet with them. >> i understand the portal exists, why is it that next
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generation vaccines have gone through barda in the last year and a half. >> there is to support the priorities under operation warp speed, now the acceleration group for vaccines and therapeutics, with made key investments to bring those forward. as dr. kessler mentioned, we have multiple vaccines available, as well as therapeutics. but we have not have been provided additional resources for advanced research and development. >> it seems to meet the bigger problem is that companies are sharing their patent, a troubling trend by this administration, big government solutions, mandates on employers and a disregard for property rights does more harm than good. i hope the biden administration will find real solutions to the
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pandemic. i yield back. >> mr. mallon are back? we will move to a second round of questioning, five-minute questioning. while we acknowledge the role of the pharmaceutical companies, we need to continually acknowledge the role of the national institutes of health and american taxpayers's dollars to developing these vaccines. let me ask about the donation of messick access vaccine. the access vaccine in the domestic supply, can it be donated before its expiration date?
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why ask this question at an earlier time of usaid, they told me to deal with hhs on this. looking at the chain of custody issues once the vaccine has been distributed. what has -- what action has hhs taken and where the chain of custody challenges -- >> thank you for that important question, that is something we spend a lot of time on. number one, what is most important is that the united states will always and only distribute and donate high quality vaccines. there is no difference between a vaccine we are donating in a vaccine that i would put in my
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family's arms. it is quality vaccines across the board. with regard to specifically -- we spend a lot of time dealing with expirations. the good news is, we have seen and been able to work to extend the expiration date. no moderna vaccine -- there is no expiration -- in our possession, we monitor expiration carefully and plan accordingly. you are right, sometimes, and we have seen this, it has been enormous effort for our colleagues to do the effort and get everyone the vaccine as quickly as possible, vaccines into the arms. you're right when you distribute the vaccines out in the field
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and they keep on going to certain fields, where limited by our fda colleagues, correctly, that we can't send vaccines that we cannot assure that chain of quality. we were carefully to make sure the states don't order more than they actually need. we are on top of this, i promise you. >> and the international side of that as well, are we sending vaccines they're not going to expire in short order, given that in some places the domestic capacity -- international domestic capacity is limited. in some countries it is much more limited than the united states. is that technical assistance that we have to be focused on as well to be able to get them distributed at the appropriate
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time so we are not wasting the vaccine. thank you. with regard to that one question to do with our international partners, you've donated 250 million doses, more than all other nations combined. what is the u.s. doing to pressure other countries to meet their pledges with more urgency? >> with your permission i've asked dr. paste answer that. -- dr. pace to answer that. >> we have been pressing on this issue ourselves, recognizing it is going to take all of us. the g7 did make a commitment to sharing vaccines, half of which included u.s. commitment, the others coming from those countries. we have not seen those realized,
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that is one reason the president convened those wild leaders in september, a push those countries to come through with their commitments following that meeting, and most recently, the secretary of state convened with foreign ministers and reiterated that call to action. what has been published as a dashboard that shows how countries are tracking for their various commitments and not only the u.s., but these other countries including the g7 are doing with their domestic covax. it is online for the world to see, we hope that provides additional impetus for them to take action. >> congressman called? -- congressman cole? >> thank you madam chair, dr. kepler -- dr. kessler, companies
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have offered to build facilities overseas to try to distribute supply. what the more controversial things is the idea of intellectual property transfer. you have any thoughts about that, whether that is effective, wise and our other countries concerned -- we are not the only vaccines in the world, there are other countries, are other countries considering transferring intellectual property? >> i think the companies working together in joint strategic partnerships, the voluntary transfer. we applaud and we are seeing pfizer partner in south africa, there are a host of those examples.
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the world needs these vaccines. no one company can do it. we need that technology shared. we have a lot to do here. >> there is a difference between companies working together across international lines to meet what we all agree is an incredible need and us forcing companies, mandating them to share intellectual property. for the record, i would be opposed to that. it would not be fair to those companies and would discourage investment later. that is my point of view. curious about your thoughts, whether that is happening, their chinese vaccines, russian vaccines, there are other countries that have vaccines in
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one form or another, are they considering transferring intellectual property? it may not be something that is in your purview. >> i can give you the best example that i think we can all applaud and should applaud. we have seen merck, and yesterday pfizer, agree to transfer -- pool with regard to antiretrovirals. if these antivirals are as effective as i hope they will be , they are going to be important, not only to the united states, but essential to the world. generic drugs, i will let my colleagues add, but generic availability of these drugs, it took us several decades to get
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this right with hiv. you -- the chair will remember the efforts we went through in the 1990's, finding those drugs and spending a good decade to figure out how to make these available. i think the antivirals that we have now, through the heroic efforts, we may be able to get on the market here in the united states are in when did need to be available around the world and we are going to need to have generics available. there are tools to do that, i will let my colleagues comment. >> to answer your question, i am not certain if the chinese companies that are developing the vaccine are tech transferring their technology, i think it is important for the companies to expand capacity, i
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think it is more important that we are supporting all the critical components that are necessary to manufacture additional vaccines. we have to do more than just do it tech transfers, we need to make sure we are facing capacity for the broad materials, --raw materials. needles and syringes, which are going to be necessary. we are making those investments, i appreciate the funding that has been provided by the committee. the primary investments will be here, domestically, they will not only support domestic manufacturing, but our global partners welcome the materials as well. >> one quick last question, directed to you dr. kessler.
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i'm trying to get a clearer -- you may not be in a position again -- the level of funding we need to deal with the problem. what do you anticipate nih to need, in terms of dollars, for low good -- local covid response for the next year. we will be dealing with this at some level, we are negotiating what is the appropriate level funding next year, or maybe it takes time -- you all have the same objective here. we have a sense of the scope of the efforts to be, your best judgment now, you can revise it when you need to, i am sure it is a complex question and a moving target. >> it is a welcome question, congressman.
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i will take responsibility. you gave us the resources and we have put those resources to very good use. you see that. that is why we have the vaccines we have today. that is the reason we can get our school-age kids -- because of those resources. i will tell you, i spent those resources. let our staffs work together, it is because of this committee we got to where we did. it is not gone without real investment by the american people for both the united states and the world. we have spent a lot of dollars and we are very grateful for that. we can work together on that question, i would appreciate it. >> absolutely, not a critical
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question, just an informational -- try to get where we are going. i appreciate what is being done, i think it is an extraordinary effort, something the country can be proud of and all humanity fitted from. i think you use the resources we gave you well, i'm just trying to get an idea of what we might need going forward. we will work on that together, madam chair, thank you for your indulgence on time, i yield back. >> congressman poe can -- >> i'm barda follow-up, i know from last month's hearing, usaid funding -- how much more money are you going to need before the end of the year to accomplish her goals, are we going to be seeing and additional requests. i agree with the ranking member,
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what we sent out already has been important, it is not enough. they brought her goals in the funding, i would like to have better understanding of what you might need. >> trying to get myself off me up. we very much appreciate the question. we have fully obligated the funds we have received, and graciously so. one of the issues of this hearing has been the issue of readiness. that truly is the focus of our moving forward, not to say we will keep -- we still need to be focused on shots and arms, some of the logistical issues. as one might we could use additional resources, should they be available. we also have countries that have
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been working tirelessly on these efforts, for longer than they expected. that is not what is in front of us, we don't realize how much man or woman power is powering this engine to allow us to respond effectively worldwide. those are some examples of what's been working or where we would like to leaning, we defer to present the case more broadly. the last thing i would offer, preparedness along with the response, the vice president made this announcement at the president's summit about committing $250 million -- ensuring we have a balance across -- responsiveness will be important for us to. >> one final question for dr. disbrow.
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vaccine access is difficult in some places. the u.s. negotiated a deal to ship additional doses of those vaccines like johnson & johnson overseas to conflict zones. secretary blinken specifically talked about the need -- the areas that have humanitarian concerns. can you talk about what technology infrastructure and human resource investments are needed to deliver those vaccines to humanitarian settings and that j&j deal. >> i am going to defer to dr. kessler. >> i am getting the wrong spot. i apologize. thank you. >> congressman, you're right, this is the first, it may not have been the most doses that we shipped, among many of us, my
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colleagues, they are some of the most meaningful doses. to be able to get doses to people for whom no government program has ever gone before. i want to applaud her colleagues at j&j for working with us. we talk about donating doses, it sounds simple. with the regulatory, legal, all those things are important, because of the safety of this. those humanitarian centers, absolutely critical and very important. >> is there anything on the delivery side you can share, specifically more information on this j&j deal. i think you said small art that we would like, but so extremely significant that this is happening. can you share more on the details? >> no, we tend to talk tens of
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millions of doses, every 10,000 is a big deal. i will get you the delivery schedule if i could submit that to you. >> i would love to see that, i yield back. >> mr. fleischman, congressman fleischman? >> thank you again, madam chair. to dr. kessler, director pace and director disbrow, thank you for your testimonies today. and for your good and candid informative answers to the committee's questions. we are all appropriators today, our oversight questions are so important, not only to the committee, but to the american people. i think you. i want to touch on a couple issues we touched on before, but
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for clarification purposes. dr. kessler, do you agree there is a lack of infrastructure that would safely support independent vaccine manufacturing and distribution in some of these other countries in which we want to help their citizens? >> i will let director pace comment in a second. i do recognize that getting vaccines delivered is only part of the equation. like a mention, i spent a decade chairing with the pediatric aids foundation, some of you remember , that foundation was started in the u.s. because of her kids becoming infected. we moved globally very early on.
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to be able to get doses to low and middle income countries. that technical assistance, that capacity, the a bjork -- absorption, the take. we have more to do on supply, i think your question is key with regard to that kind of technical assistance with regard to the uptake. director pace, please correct me? >> i want to draw on something dr. disbrow said earlier about the spectrum of need and technical assistance when comes to manufacturing capacity in some of these countries and clarify it is not only building some of these facilities, from scratch, but there is existing infrastructure which we might be able -- in addition to some of
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the other examples, the four net -- finance corporation dealing with the department of health, in places like india and south africa have identified those locales to build on existing capacity in a way that can accelerate getting to scale. i'm not sure if dr. disbrow has anything dad? >> in addition to that, your question -- it is more than just the facilities, you also have to make sure you have people who can work in the facilities, some of the countries where they may not have the experience of manufacturing vaccines and injectables, you need to make sure you have that -- other train -- other companies want to take them away and use them, because training and making sure
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those individuals are available is difficult. it is more than just the facility, it is making sure you have the people and infrastructure to support it. >> i sincerely appreciate all of your answers to clarify that for the committee. in closing, i would like to say this: it is my hope that these conversations progress in a way that will provide for a solution that continues our humanitarian work while staying sensitive to the protections and liabilities of u.s. companies. as you know, i'm a tenant -- champion for the free enterprise system, i think all the companies involved done a great job stepping up in a time of crisis, coming together, working with the government to accomplish the goal of defeating covid, both nationally and internationally. with that, i think you, madam chair and yell back?
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-- and yelled back. >> i want to ask one question and then we will close. if the gentleman would bear with me. we need the two of us to continue. i will make my case here. i will submit for the question -- for the record questions about back seen equity to you -- vaccine equity to you ms. pace, i will get this question to you about how barter contributed to that development -- barda contributed to that development and to you kessler about negotiations with pfizer or others, using the defense protection act, first up production -- for us to up production, we pledged $1.1
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billion -- 1.1 million doses, only 22 .6 have been shipped. pfizer is producing over one billion. what is it we can do to accelerate the pace? i know people are working hard, i will submit those questions fi might just close, i want to say thank you to you, dr. kessler, dr. pace, dr. disbrow, i think we covered important topics today. it will be my hope that we could move on our appropriations bill for 2022. locked within those bills are a serious resources for the areas that you covered and for the issues attached to this
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discussion that would be very helpful in your being able to continue your work. a couple of points: the number of our shortcomings and preparedness -- vaccine -- the virus exposed our shortcomings and preparedness, the united states needs to contribute to the solution. but the longer covid is allowed to spread, it becomes a breeding ground for mu variants -- new variants they could be more transposable -- transmissible. limited vaccine needs to be better, that means providing vaccine as quickly as possible to other countries, we must also support efforts to increase manufacturing capacity, a
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conversation with barda to maximize distribution. the tech transfer sooner rather than later, allowed the capacity these countries have and we have this capacity, but they don't. we need to help them with that effort. i would urge you to explore every avenue, to continue to put pressure on those companies that were supporting to accelerate reduction in distribution of the vaccine. i know some of the companies have been excellent partners, i commend them for their leadership. i would find it unconscionable for any company to make billions in profits without doing everything in its power to reach the most needy throughout the world. to ensure the health and safety of billions of people, it is the
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national security interests to bring this pandemic to a close as soon as possible to save lives. we have the power to do that, a final note, i hope -- if this is not my bailiwick you will refer me, we do have ended ministerial meeting on the 30th of this month, where the issue of the temporary transfer of intellectual property -- i emphasize the word temporary transfer of the intellectual property, will be a point of discussion. i want to commend the work of the united states has done already in this area. my optimism for what we will do on the 30th.
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all in all, it is within our powers here in the u.s. to be able to deal with these issues. i thank you for your work and what you are doing for all of us now, for our country and internationally. thank you for being with us. with announcer: coming up sunday morning the wilson center's robert daly discusses the summit between president biden and president xi and tensions between the countries. infectious disease expert talks about the latest on the covid 19 pandemic and concerns of holiday travel and family gatherings. watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern sunday on c-span and c-span now. join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments,
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