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Wenstrup Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Raise Public Awareness of COVID-19 Vaccine

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Representatives Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH-02), Ron Kind (D-WI-03), Roger Marshall (R-KS-01), Scott Peters (D-CA-52), John Joyce (R-PA-13), Andy Kim (D-NJ-03), Neal Dunn (R-FL-02), and Albio Sires (D-NJ-08) introduced bipartisan legislation, authorizing a public advocacy campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccine participation and provide science-backed information. The bill provides necessary funds for the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide grants to entities to launch public awareness campaigns no less than 30 days after a vaccine is authorized.

“Operation Warp Speed has produced a safe and effective vaccine in record time. A vaccine, however, will only lead us out of this pandemic and allow us to restore our way of life if enough Americans are willing to receive it,” said Representative Brad Wenstrup D.P.M. “It is more important than ever that we provide science-based, factual information about COVID-19 vaccines to the American people. I believe providing accurate information about vaccines will help alleviate concerns and empower Americans to make sound medical decisions.”

“Today is a turning point in the COVID-19 pandemic as millions of vaccines are shipped across the country and arrive to Wisconsin and we begin to inoculate our health care workers and most vulnerable to the virus. But for these vaccines to ultimately bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that Americans are willing to receive them,” said Representative Ron Kind. “I am proud to support this bipartisan bill to provide resources to trusted local leaders across the country to raise awareness and share factual, evidence-based information about COVID-19 vaccines with the communities they serve.”

“A COVID-19 vaccine will only be effective in defeating this virus if people have confidence in its safety and efficacy,” said Representative Roger Marshall, M.D. “ America is home to world-class scientists and a gold-standard regulatory agency that oversees the drug approval process. As a physician, I understand people’s concerns over this unprecedented process, but from the start, pharmaceutical scientists have been in constant contact with officials at the Food and Drug Administration, ensuring multiple layers of safety and oversight. I am proud to co-lead legislation that provides funding for science-based information for our families and communities. I remain confident that we will defeat this virus and return to life as normal.”

“Today’s distribution of the first COVID-19 vaccines is a national triumph. It speaks to the skill of our public and private scientists, whose efforts to develop, certify and deploy a vaccine will soon help our country get closer to normal and save lives,” said Representative Scott Peters. “We must do everything we can to optimize and uplift their work. This legislation will educate and boost awareness and trust in communities disproportionately hurt by this deadly virus.”

“As our nation combats the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s scientists, researchers, and health care heroes have achieved remarkable progress in developing a safe and effective vaccine – the key to restoring our communities, rebuilding our economy, and saving lives,” said Representative John Joyce, M.D. “Like many Americans, I am planning to take the vaccine as soon as I am eligible. It is imperative that the American people have confidence in the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine. To gain their trust, we must cut through misinformation and ensure that Americans have the facts about this vaccine and its lifesaving potential.”

“Earning the public’s trust is key to putting an end to this pandemic, which is why it’s so important that we come together in a bipartisan way to make sure every American has the facts about the COVID-19 vaccines,” said Representative Andy Kim. “This bill would make sure that accurate information reaches the American people so that they can take the vaccine with confidence. I hope my colleagues from both sides of the aisle join in passing this critical effort.”

“We’ve made great strides in combatting COVID-19 thanks to Operation Warp Speed. Now, we must focus on getting the facts to the public about the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Representative Neal Dunn, M.D.  “This legislation will help to promote awareness and encourage participation, and ensure local governments have the resources to do so. Vaccines are most effective when a sufficient amount of Americans are vaccinated. I’ve said it from day one: if we’re going to overcome this pandemic, we have to work together.”

“The swift development of a COVID-19 vaccine is a serious progression on our route to curbing the virus and getting back to our normal routines. Now that the vaccine is being administered, it is crucial that we encourage as many Americans as possible to receive one,” said Representative Albio Sires. “We must ensure that Americans have science-based, factual information on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. This bipartisan legislation will go a long way in funding states public awareness campaigns so that Americans have the information they need to receive the vaccine with confidence.”

The bill is a companion to legislation introduced in the Senate by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Thune (R-SD), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

You can read the bill text here.