‘Lives are at stake’ - Elk Grove lawmaker asks feds for full approval of COVID-19 vaccines | Congressman Ami Bera

‘Lives are at stake’ - Elk Grove lawmaker asks feds for full approval of COVID-19 vaccines

Jul 16, 2021
In The News

Elk Grove Congressman Ami Bera is urgently calling on the FDA to grant full approval of COVID-19 vaccines now being used under “emergency use” authorizations.

Bera, D-Elk Grove, in a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration posted Friday on his website, voiced concern over the rising numbers of COVID cases among unvaccinated people and said federal regulators must take quick action.

COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in California and Sacramento County now has some of the highest COVID rates in the state.

In Los Angeles County, the nation’s largest county, health officials have mandated face coverings to again be worn indoors as cases surge there. And, on Friday, The Sacramento Bee reported that half of Californians are now being urged to wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status.

Bera, a physician, is a former chief medical officer for Sacramento County.

“FDA must decide how much more review and evaluation is worth the lives of those unvaccinated individuals who are waiting for the FDA to act,” Bera wrote in the letter to FDA acting commissioner Janet Woodcock.

“The FDA must now work to approve Biologics License Applications for COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible as the pandemic continues and many remain unvaccinated because of their (emergency use authorization) status,” the Elk Grove lawmaker wrote. “Lives are at stake.”

Bera cited a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey that showed nearly a third of unvaccinated adults said they wanted to “wait and see” how vaccines worked for others before receiving their own dose, adding they would be more likely to get the shot if a vaccine received full FDA approval.

Bera said he had heard from front-line medical providers who say unvaccinated people they talk with, including those in historically marginalized groups, are wary of the FDA’s emergency use authorization for vaccines and are fearful of getting a vaccine that is not fully approved.