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Shaheen demands answers on plans for COVID-19 vaccine

(WCAX)
Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 6:24 PM EDT
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New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen questioned federal health officials at a hearing Thursday on the research, manufacture and distribution of a safe coronavirus.

Shaheen asked CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield how seniors and people with underlying conditions like diabetes will be prioritized once there is a vaccine.

"In New Hampshire, 80% of our COVID-19 deaths had been in long-term care facilities. That's the highest percentage in the country," said Shaheen, D-New Hampshire.

Redfield told her the most vulnerable-- those with greater risk of infection or death-- are at the top of the list, but also those whose jobs put them at greater risk, like the workers at long-term care facilities.

"Depending on which virus-- vaccine is approved it may have particular characteristics that make it more or less appropriate to begin with in different populations, and this is why it's hard for us to know exactly until we know which of the viruses, but clearly the vulnerable will be, if not the priority, one of the top priorities," Redfield said.

Shaheen also asked about a possible link between PFAS exposure and COVID-19 risk. Redfield said the CDC is studying the subject but he wasn't able to give a timeline on when the results would be available.

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