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Sanders presses health officials on vaccine availability

Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 3:38 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WCAX) - Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Wednesday pressed federal health officials on whether Americans will have to pay for a vaccine once one has been approved by the FDA.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions heard from advisers to the president’s coronavirus response, including National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

In response to a question from Sanders on the cost of a future vaccine, both said that cost would not be a barrier

“This is something I’m gonna be working very hard on. Other senators will as well. Will you join us in the effort to make sure that this vaccine will be distributed free of charge to all Americans?” Sanders asked U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

“I want to give you a very direct answer. Yes. As surgeon general of the United States, I promise you we will use every federal tool that we have to make sure that cost is not an obstacle for people to receive the vaccine that is likely the most anticipated of our time,” Adams responded.

Both Adams and Collins also stressed that safety will not be compromised by the vaccine’s accelerated timeline. They say if it doesn’t work or isn’t safe, it won’t be used and any doses that have been produced will be destroyed.

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