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Politics

Collins Questions NIH Director On Vaccine Storage Capacity

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Gred Nash
/
Pool via AP
Sen. Susan Collins listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss vaccines and health protections during the pandemic, Sept. 9, 2020.

The federal government plans to purchase and distribute hundreds of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine. But it faces challenges in storing doses.  Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, raised the issue at a hearing of the Senate Health Committee. Sen. Collins questioned National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Frances Collins about the storage capacity for one vaccine under development that requires refrigeration at temperatures below zero Farenheit.

She said it's doubtful that hospitals can afford those specialized units "unless we are helping with the purchase of those very expensive refrigeration units."

"That’s a great question, senator," the NIH director responded, "and I think there is an intense effort right now on how to address this."

The committee is overseeing efforts to develop an effective vaccine, and systems for making it available nationwide.