Chairman Scott, Rep. Adams Call on Vice President Pence to Prioritize Distribution of Protective Gear

March 20, 2020
Press Release
Letter comes amid widespread shortages of respirators, surgical masks at nation’s hospitals

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC  Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Workforce Protections Subcommittee Chair Alma Adams (NC-12) sent a letter to Vice President Michael Pence urging him to immediately appoint a senior administration official to coordinate the supply and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers amid the COVID-19 crisis.

As Chair of the Coronavirus Taskforce, Vice President Pence has the authority to empower a senior official to serve as the direct point of contact for governors, health care facilities, and health care workers who are struggling to obtain adequate PPE – including critical N95 respirators – to ensure workers’ safety.

While the Strategic National Stockpile still contained nearly 12 million N95 respirators as of early this week, news reports have documented extreme shortages in some hospital facilities, forcing workers to build makeshift protective equipment using office supplies.  

“There is no apparent coordination to ensure newly manufactured respirators and other equipment are being distributed to the highest priority areas as they become available,” the Members wrote. “It is essential that this life-saving PPE is directed to the facilities most in need, and this requires a higher level of coordination than now exists. Without this kind of leadership our health care workers will be left unprotected, at risk, and unable to do their jobs, putting our entire public health system at risk.”

Read the letter to Vice President Pence here

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