Schumer Floor Remarks On The Distribution Of Historic Coronavirus Vaccine

December 15, 2020

Washington, D.C. — Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the distribution and recent approval of the first safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Now, on COVID-19. In a year full of grim milestones, yesterday delivered the grimmest yet. More than 300,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19, greater than the number of American soldiers who died during the entirety of World War II, a population the size of St. Louis or Pittsburgh, wiped off the map.

300,000 American souls.

As trucks bearing the first shipments of frozen vaccine fan out across the nation—the first, best hope for defeating the pandemic in the New Year—we cannot lose sight of what we’ve lost this year. That is what the end of 2020 has brought: hope tinged by grief.

It was an amazing sight, yesterday, to see the first American inoculated against the disease, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, in Queens, my home state of New York.

But for so many, the vaccine has not come soon enough. Let it be our tribute to those Americans we lost to do everything in our power to limit the losses moving forward. To produce and distribute as many vaccines as are necessary, and encourage every American, every American, to take the vaccine when it is available to them.

Three million doses of the vaccine are already out the door, and another vaccine is already in the emergency authorization process. Still another vaccine candidate may be ready early next year.

As I said yesterday, the discovery of a coronavirus vaccine in the span of a calendar year is a crowning scientific achievement of the 21st Century. Our job now is to ensure that the good work of America’s scientists, biochemists and medical research is brought to bear. That, given the tools, we finally stamp out COVID-19 from our country, and begin the road to recovery.

We need to fully fund not only production of the vaccine, but its distribution as well. The states need that money.