Durbin Speaks With FDA Commissioner About COVID-19 Vaccine Development

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke by phone with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn about the research and approval process for COVID-19 vaccine candidates under Operation Warp Speed. On the call, Durbin pressed Hahn about maintaining the integrity of the FDA’s safety and efficacy standard, and not cutting corners or permitting political interference in the effort to quickly develop a vaccine—especially given the controversy surrounding President Trump’s promotion of hydroxychloroquine and FDA’s issuance and subsequent revocation of an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the drug. 

Commissioner Hahn and Dr. Peter Marks, Director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, discussed the agency’s projected timeline and oversight standards. Through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and the Department of Defense (DOD), the federal government has invested nearly $10 billion in funding for vaccine research and mass production to prepare for the future distribution of an approved vaccine.

“When it comes to producing a vaccine that will protect us from COVID-19, we must assure the American people that the research and approval process is driven by scientific integrity, not political motivations or anti-science behavior,” said Durbin. “I appreciate Dr. Hahn’s commitment to making science-based decisions, and I hope that we can quickly develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine without cutting corners.  This will help build confidence for the American people and halt the spread of this virus.”