NEW JERSEY – U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Wednesday led a bipartisan letter signed by 25 Members of Congress to House leadership to address the shortage of needles and syringes needed to deploy a COVID-19 vaccine nationwide.
To produce a single dose of a vaccine for every person in the U.S., more than 300 million syringes and needles are needed. If a vaccine requires more than one dose for deployment, our country could require much more, Gottheimer said.
It could take more than a year to produce these materials given the United States’ manufacturing capacity, Gottheimer said.
“Even according to the most optimistic predictions, we are still many months away from having a vaccine ready to be deployed to the public. While this might seem far off, deploying a vaccine nationwide will require a massive manufacturing and logistical effort the likes of which our nation has never seen before,” the Members wrote in a letter this week to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “Rapidly producing and deploying millions or billions of vaccine doses greatly exceeds our current domestic manufacturing capacity and may require the repurposing of manufacturing facilities or the construction of new ones.”
“It is critical that we do not repeat the same mistakes made when we faced similar crises in the past. If we do not adequately prepare now, it will be harder and take longer to deploy the number of vaccines necessary to protect the public when one becomes available,” the members said.
The House-passed Heroes Act included requirements to expand and enhance the domestic manufacturing capacity of vaccines.
The Members requested that future bipartisan COVID-19 legislative packages address this additional manufacturing need through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the Strategic National Stockpile, and the private sector with the following provisions:
- Encouraging cooperation with the private sector through joint ventures and facilities and equipment needed to ramp up production of medical supplies;
- Expanding and broadening the medical countermeasure manufacturing base across multiple regions;
- Creating a domestic reserve of critical medical supplies including syringes, needles, and other materials;
- Increasing the emergency stockpile of medical supplies including syringes, needles, and other materials.