ARLINGTON, Va. — HDA president and CEO Chester “Chip” Davis, Jr., released a statement commenting on passage of the COVID-19 emergency relief package by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
“HDA applauds Congress for passing the bipartisan economic stimulus package that will provide much needed relief to the businesses and millions of Americans that have been so severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As part of this comprehensive legislation, we are pleased that Congress is looking to the future of vaccine distribution when, in the coming months, the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is likely to be sufficient to reach Americans in every corner of the country from the busiest urban centers to most remote rural communities. In anticipation of a surge in demand as we move to the next phase of vaccine allocation and administration, the relief bill calls for nearly $9.0 bil. to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) efforts to ensure every American has access to a vaccine. This critical funding directs resources to states and localities to implement vaccine distribution and administration plans, which are a key to turning vaccines into vaccinations. Additionally, the bill includes a directive to create an updated distribution strategy that leverages existing infrastructure and considers enhancements as well as the need for new approaches.
“As new vaccines become available, more distribution capacity will inevitably be required to ensure that these products are reaching the communities that desperately need them. As CDC begins the process of updating the strategy, HDA encourages the agency to engage the broader distribution sector in the preparation and contingency planning process so that no time is lost if, as anticipated, a potential surge in demand calls for further logistics expertise to help ensure Americans across the country have access to these critical vaccines. Given the composition of HDA’s membership, we stand ready to help facilitate that engagement in any appropriate manner.
“Further, HDA’s distributor members have long served as partners to the federal government in the warehousing and delivery of essential medicines and medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). To that end, we are encouraged that the legislation will provide more than $3.0 bil. to bolster the SNS to not only support our nation’s response efforts today but ensure that we have the medicines and medical supplies in the future when the next public health crisis or natural disaster strikes.
“HDA and its pharmaceutical distributor members look forward to working with the Congress, the CDC and other relevant federal agencies, the states, and the incoming Biden Administration to implement and deliver on the promise of this legislation.”