Letter to U.S. Governors from HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on renewing COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE)
As I shared in my February 9 letter to you, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is planning for the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) declared under the Public Health Service Act for COVID-19 to end on May 11. While COVID-19 is not over, we are in a position to end the emergency phase of our response because of the Administration’s whole-of-government approach to combatting the virus. Along with the February 9 letter, I shared a Fact Sheet explaining some of what will and will not change as a result of the end of the PHE. As we enter the final month of the COVID-19 PHE and continue the process of transitioning the emergency policies enabled by the COVID-19 emergency declarations, I would like to provide clarity regarding the future of coverage of COVID-19 countermeasures under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act).
The protections provided by the PREP Act have helped millions of Americans receive convenient and timely COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and tests. Recognizing this, I am announcing today that I intend to amend the PREP Act declaration to extend certain important protections that will continue to facilitate such access. Attached is a Fact Sheet outlining key details. This Fact Sheet is not exhaustive, and the amended declaration may address additional issues not covered here. HHS will share additional guidance on any further extensions of PREP Act coverage when the amended Declaration is published.
Addressing COVID-19 remains a significant public health priority for the Administration. In the month remaining before the end of the PHE, HHS will continue to work closely with its partners, including Governors, state, local, Tribal, and territorial agencies, industry, and advocates to ensure an orderly transition. Thank you for your sustained partnership as we work to safeguard and advance the health and well-being of the American people.
Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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