On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to prevent COVID-19 among individuals 16 years of age and older. The following week, the FDA granted a separate EUA for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for those 18 years and older. Within twenty-four hours of each authorization, doses began shipping across the country to every state, marking significant milestones in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, tens of millions of vaccine doses have been administered throughout the U.S. with the manufacturers of at least three other COVID-19 vaccines expected to also apply for EUAs in the first quarter of 2021.
In anticipation of the availability of safe and effective vaccines to prevent COVID-19, NAAG spent fall 2020 developing training opportunities and resources to support attorney general community members in navigating the myriad issues that have or could continue to arise (e.g., widespread vaccine hesitancy, inadequate and/or inequitable distribution of vaccines, high rates of adverse events among vaccinated individuals). These are all now available to NAAG membership, including attorney general office staff, to view via a new on-demand course. On-demand courses are restricted to verified attorney general staff only. To access this course, create an account in the NAAG database. Once an account is verified, you can register for the course. If you are an attorney general staff member and cannot access this course, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The on-demand course includes:
- A video recording and accompanying slides detailing foundational vaccine information, including vaccines’ history and purpose, how they are researched and developed, how they are distributed on a routine basis or during a public health emergency, how their safety and efficacy are monitored, and strategies used to increase vaccination access and uptake.
- A recording and slides from a one-hour webinar hosted on Monday, November 9, 2020 regarding the development, distribution, and allocation of COVID-19 vaccines. This webinar also includes an overview of Operation Warp Speed, a multi-federal-agency effort to quickly develop safe and effective treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. Finally, key considerations should COVID-19 shift from the current COVID-19 public health emergency to a routine, endemic virus are highlighted.
- Recordings and slides from an intensive online training (3 hours total) that allowed participants to explore the legal implications that may arise following the FDA authorization of COVID-19 vaccines. The training includes topical presentations and discussion of various potential vaccine-related legal and policy issues. Faculty-led presentations covered: COVID-19 legal issues and the legal framework for vaccine requirements; federal- vs. state-based vaccine mandates as well as requirements by employers, schools, etc.; federal vaccine injury compensation programs for routine vaccinations vs. vaccines as public health countermeasures (e.g., COVID-19 vaccines); and vaccine liability protections.
- Additional resources and handouts regarding the public health and legal implications for COVID-19 vaccine authorization and distribution.
Throughout 2021, NAAG will continue to provide informational updates and training opportunities to attorney general community members as the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and related legal issues continue to evolve. For more information on NAAG’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit NAAG’s Members-Only COVID-19 Resource Page. Attorney general staff can request access to the page.