Strategic national stockpile back under HHS control

The U.S. government shifted control of the strategic national stockpile back to HHS after  giving control to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in March, The Washington Post reported. 

The amount of funding for the stockpile has greatly increased since March, with the CARES Act and other coronavirus relief packages directing $16 billion to rebuild it. The CDC oversaw the stockpile until late 2018 and had a yearly budget of about $600 million for it, according to the Post

HHS is planning significant changes to how the stockpile will allocate equipment, the Post reported.

Before FEMA took over, HHS used an allocation formula in which 25 percent of a state's request for supplies was based on its population and 25 percent on the number of COVID-19 cases. The rest was held back so the stockpile wouldn't be depleted. After FEMA took control, allocation decisions were based more heavily on need, and by early April, the stockpile was close to depleted. 

An HHS official told the Post the agency feels confident that the $16 billion allocated to rebuild the stockpile will allow itto build a 90-day supply of respirators, gloves, ventilators and other equipment needed to fight a pandemic. 

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