U.S. Senators Smith and Cassidy’s Bipartisan Amendment to Address Global COVID-19 Vaccine Access Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/03/22]— U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.)’s bipartisan amendment to improve global vaccine access was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act last week.

The bipartisan amendment will analyze the United States government’s capabilities to retrieve soon to expire COVID-19 vaccine doses and send them to countries abroad. These efforts will help to address supply chain barriers to efficient global vaccine distribution and provide another opportunity for the United States to be a leader in building global capacity to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

The amendment is also co-sponsored in the Senate by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

“Expanding worldwide access to COVID-19 vaccines is central to ending the pandemic,” said Sen. Smith. “This amendment will take important steps towards slowing the spread of this virus, allowing the United States to improve COVID-19 vaccine access for low- and middle-income countries, and leading the world out of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Increasing global access to the COVID vaccine is vital to U.S. economic and national security,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Our amendment ensures the United States is at the forefront of global vaccine distribution and supply.”

The bipartisan amendment would:

  • Require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to lead a federal study to identify the logistical requirements to collect unused and unexpired COVID-19 doses in the United States and distribute them to foreign countries.
  • Study options for collecting unexpired COVID-19 vaccine doses, methods for collecting and shipping the doses to foreign countries, methods to ensure appropriate storage and handling of doses during delivery, capacity of foreign governments to distribute and administer these doses, and the minimum supply of doses needed to be retained in the United States.

Ensuring global access to COVID-19 vaccine doses will stop the spread of COVID and its variants, helping to restore global economic output.

You can read the full text of the amendment here.