Richard H. Hughes, IV, Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, submitted comments read into the record of a hearing, “Assessing America’s Vaccine Safety Systems, Part 2,” conducted by the House Oversight Committee, Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Before returning to Epstein Becker Green, Richard served as Managing Director at a leading Washington health care advisory firm and Vice President at a major vaccine manufacturer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before becoming an attorney, Richard served in several health policy leadership roles. He was a gubernatorial appointee to the Arkansas State Board of Health, where he deliberated regulatory policy, presided over appeals before the state health department, and advocated for vaccine access.

Following is an excerpt from Richard’s testimony:

I strongly encourage both Congress and our nation’s public health officials to take this moment to self-reflect and to resolve challenges in public confidence in our institutions and science with humility and cautiousness. We cannot simply dismiss public vaccine concerns. Misinformation is unacceptable, as is dismissing misinformation. Facts surrounding epidemiology, vaccine ingredients, vaccine research and development protocols, the population-benefit purpose of vaccinations, must be communicated more effectively to the American people.

Readiness for future emerging disease threats is both a public health and national security imperative. Systems that foster the balance of sufficient liability protection, adequate injury compensation, sustained innovation and public trust are imperative to that readiness. Lawmakers, public figures, and individual citizens share a collective responsibility to avoid misrepresentation of science and facts. To otherwise perpetuate or tolerate misinformation stands to jeopardize humankind.

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