CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper testified before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, in which he urged the panel to authorize a wider release of second booster shots for COVID-19.
During his three-minute testimony — which was the time allotted to a person speaking during the public hearing in front of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee — he highlighted efforts by Kanawha County when it came to first responders.
The panel voted modifications need to be made to the current boosters to better protect people from recent coronavirus variants.
“There is an urgent need for second booster shots to protect our first responders. First responders include law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, telecommunicators, nurses and our doctors. It’s important this is done now and not later,” Carper said during testimony.
Carper told the panel to look into the success of Kanawha County and its health department when it made the first booster shots available to first responders. Carper said it saved lives, and a second booster clearance would do the same.
“By doing this, we were able to keep our hospitals, our correctional facilities, our police departments, our fire departments open. This activity, ordered by Dr. (Sherri) Young, received national attention from the president of the United States including the White House,” Carper said.
Carper ended his testimony by asking the panel to do two things: recognize to immediately allow distribution of a new generation vaccine and prioritize first responders to be vaccinated.
“We believe the FDA needs to prioritize, like it was done here in West Virginia, first responders to be vaccinated immediately so they are protected to protect us,” he said.
The FDA advisory panel meeting was broadcasted live on YouTube.