April 8, 2020
HHS to Provide Millions of TYVEK Protective Suits for U.S. Healthcare Workers
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced an agreement with DuPont to expedite the delivery of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for frontline U.S. healthcare workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. DuPont will deliver 450,000 TYVEK® suits to the United States from its Hanoi, Vietnam manufacturing facility this week. HHS anticipates receiving 2.25 million TYVEK suits over the next five weeks with an option to continue purchasing up to a total of 4.5 million TYVEK suits.
Through an existing government transportation contract, FedEx will transport the TYVEK suits from Vietnam to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) in the United States, which will work with public health authorities in states, territories, Tribal nations, and certain cities, and with industry partners to ensure the TYVEK suits reach the healthcare facilities and workers most in need.
In order to make supplies available as quickly as possible and to deliver a steady flow to healthcare workers on the front lines, the U.S. government will ship raw material to Vietnam each week for the manufacturing facility to continue producing the TYVEK suits.
“This international operation enables the DuPont plant in Vietnam to produce TYVEK suits and ship them to the Strategic National Stockpile, allowing us to deploy suits to where healthcare workers need them most,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Under President Trump’s leadership, HHS is leaving no stone unturned in securing the supplies needed to protect our heroic frontline healthcare workers. We are working around the world, in partnership with other federal agencies and the private sector, to find opportunities like this to drive PPE production, secure supplies, and accelerate delivery.”
DuPont’s Tyvek is a versatile material that can provide a barrier against fine particles and chemicals. These coverall suits are part of the PPE needed for healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients. Other recommended PPE include a N95 respirator or surgical/face mask, a face shield or protective eyewear, and gloves.
The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) worked with colleagues in the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi & Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, and the Government of Vietnam to execute this agreement. Since the beginning of this crisis, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have been collaborating with Vietnamese officials to monitor and respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation.
The SNS, managed by ASPR, is coordinating through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deliver supplies where they are needed most for the COVID-19 response. The SNS’ role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies. The supplies, medicines, and devices for life-saving care contained in the stockpile can be used as a short-term, stop-gap buffer when immediate quantities of these materials may not be adequate. As part of the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SNS has deployed nationwide millions of N95 respirators, surgical masks and face masks, face shields, gloves, and disposable gowns to help prevent COVID-19 transmission. The SNS is also working with its partners across the federal government to coordinate logistics operations in order to leverage all available resources to support the COVID-19 response.