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VIDEO: In HELP Committee Hearing, Kaine Pushes for Easier Access to COVID Tests, Solutions to Address Long COVID

For video of Kaine’s remarks, click here

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing titled: Addressing New Variants: A Federal Perspective on the COVID-19 Response, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to provide a breakdown of what percentage of individuals, hospitalized or deceased, due to COVID are vaccinated versus unvaccinated. Dr. Fauci told Kaine that there is a 17 times greater chance an unvaccinated individual will be hospitalized and a 20 times greater chance that an unvaccinated individual will lose their life to COVID, compared with a vaccinated individual.

Kaine also pressed Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about what the CDC is doing to provide greater access to free COVID tests. Kaine asked Dr. Walensky, “I’d like to ask you a question about access to testing and in particular, what is the CDC doing to make sure that testing capacity is robust in rural America and also among community health centers in disadvantaged parts of the country?” Dr. Walensky talked about the CDC’s work with FEMA to increase the number of federal testing sites, as well as expanding testing at pharmacies in vulnerable communities, community centers, and at schools. This comes as Governor Northam has announced new Virginia Department of Health testing sites in Charlottesville, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Newport News, Norfolk, Prince William, Richmond and Roanoke. More information on the sites can be found here.

Kaine also asked Dr. Fauci for an update on NIH’s research to better understand the symptoms and treatment for long COVID. Dr. Fauci gave Senator Kaine an update on NIH’s efforts to expand understanding of the lingering effects of COVID.

As a member of the Senate HELP Committee, Senator Kaine continues to focus on making free at-home COVID tests more accessible, the growing number of people experiencing long COVID, and the importance of vaccination.

Last week, Senator Kaine, alongside Senators Tina Smith and Tammy Baldwin, led a letter urging the Biden Administration to ensure easy access to rapid COVID-19 tests for Americans across the country.