'Amazing coincidence' Moderna offered free vaccines when asked to testify, Bernie Sanders says
It "maybe was just a wild and crazy coincidence" drug company Moderna announced a plan to give free Covid vaccines to uninsured Americans right as a Senate committee asked them to testify — but it was "a step in the right direction," Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday.
"Amazing coincidence, that happened the same exact day we announced that we were inviting them to testify," Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
The committee last week asked Moderna's CEO, Stéphane Bancel, to appear in a panel next month examining proposed plans to raise the Covid vaccine's list price to $110 to $130 per dose.
Moderna on Wednesday said people in the U.S. will be able to access vaccines "regardless of ability to pay."
"We also want to take a look at what that patient program is about," Sanders said of Moderna's proposal. "We're talking to them about that, but, obviously, it's a step in the right direction."
Moderna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Sanders has noted that the vaccine was developed using taxpayer money.
Both Moderna and fellow vaccine maker Pfizer are anticipating a transition from a governmental market to a commercial market, as U.S. Covid emergency declarations come to an end.