Washington, D.C. — Newark Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. is concerned that any future vaccine to treat and cure the current COVID-19 global pandemic will be too expensive for low and middle-income Americans.

Rep. Payne, Jr. wrote a letter to the leadership of three prominent House committees today to highlight the need for “universal access” to a future vaccine.  In the letter, Rep. Payne, Jr. stated that the development of vaccines to protect against COVID-19 is critical to ending the current global pandemic.  Yet, it would “mean nothing if vaccines were not widely available, distributed easily, and affordable to all.  Congress must guarantee that everyone will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine.”  The letter had nine congressional co-signers.

“Any vaccine that we use to treat this coronavirus must be accessible to the general public,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.  “We have seen what this disease can do to our communities of color.  If we do not make treatments and cures affordable to all Americans, we run the risk of increased infection rates and deaths nationwide.  Every American deserves to feel protected and keep their families safe from this dreaded disease.”

The letter concluded with the belief that “while we are hopeful that the Department of Health and Human Services will acquire supplies of additional vaccine candidates on its own, Congress has several tools at its disposal that would ensure universal access to COVID-19 vaccines,” such as “requiring the federal government to stockpile vaccines as proposed in the HEROES Act.  It was sent to Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. and Rep. Greg Walden, Chair and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Rep. Bobby Scott and Rep. Virginia Foxx, the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and Labor; and Rep. Richard Neal and Rep. Kevin Brady, Chair and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.