WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the America First Vaccine Act, legislation that will ensure that Americans will be the first to receive any COVID-19 vaccine that was developed by an American company with the support of U.S. taxpayer dollars.
Specifically, the legislation will prevent a manufacturer of a vaccine that was developed with the support of federal funding from distributing a vaccine outside of the United States until the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the FDA Commissioner, certifies that domestic need for the vaccine has already been met or is in the best interest of American public health. Any company that violates this requirement will be required to pay back the federal government for all federal funds they received from American taxpayers, plus interest.
“Since this pandemic began, I have worked on a bipartisan basis to protect the health and safety of North Carolinians, including supporting billions of dollars to produce a safe and effective vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Senator Tillis. “Once that vaccine is developed, Americans should get the vaccine first before it goes to other countries. The America First Vaccine Act is about protecting the health of North Carolinians and ensuring that they receive a return on their investment when we develop a safe vaccine.”
To date, Congress has directed almost $10 billion to Operation Warp Speed (OWS), a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and the Department of Defense (DoD) to find a COVID-19 vaccine.
Read text of the legislation here.