February 28, 2023
Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-823-8442
Washington, D.C. – Today, NCL Health Policy Director Robin Strongin testified at the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC). Robin’s full testimony can be found below.
Good afternoon, my name is Robin Strongin and I direct Health Policy for the National Consumers League (NCL).
Founded in 1899 by the renowned social reformer, Florence Kelley, the National Consumers League has long championed vaccines as lifesaving medical interventions.
In fact, Kelley’s support of vaccinations played a key part in mitigating a critical smallpox outbreak towards the end of the 19th century, and her tireless advocacy for immunizations has informed NCL’s bedrock principles for increased access and vaccine confidence.
124 years later, we are honored to persist in our efforts to protect consumers from vaccine preventable illnesses and we extend our gratitude to this committee for the opportunity to present our public comments.
We know that despite decades of effort, no vaccine to protect against RSV disease, in any population, has been authorized, resulting in a very serious unmet need. The dramaticrise in cases this past Fall was a wake-up call for us as a nation.
As Americans faced the threat of contracting RSV–the flu, pneumonia, and COVID were circulating simultaneously. The difference, of course, is that vaccines for COVID influenza and pneumonia are widely available and many in the most vulnerable communities have embraced these tools to reduce their risk of serious illness and death.
However, the lack of any such tool to protect against RSV made for a frightening reality for Americans already facing serious threats to their respiratory health, especially among the very young and the elderly.
NCL is also concerned with the serious strain these viruses put on our health care system, and its ability to provide quality and timely care for patients. From hospitals running at capacity, to over taxed health care providers and family caregivers, the prolonged burden such an uptick in cases can inflict is not sustainable.
We are encouraged by the continued progress in the development of vaccines to help strengthen our ability to fight back against devastating diseases like RSV.
Ensuring broad and equitable access to these vaccines is an important next step to improving the health of all communities while reducing the high burden these viruses place on our health care system.
NCL cares deeply about the health and well-being of our nation. We will continue to do our part to educate people about the importance of vaccines and the value they offer consumers–and society as a whole.
About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit nclnet.org.