Lack of pandemic funding endangers lives, especially vulnerable populations, and poses ongoing dangers to us all
March 16, 2022
Washington, D.C. – Last week the House of Representatives stripped $22.5 billion in crucial COVID-19 funding from a wider spending bill, forcing the Biden Administration to scale back the newly unveiled COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. House Democrats have introduced a separate COVID-19 relief bill, but the Senate appears unlikely to pass it. As we approach a somber milestone—nearly 1 million Americans have died from COVID-19, and thousands continue to die each week—Made to Save is calling on Congress to pass these crucial funds to save lives and limit further spread of COVID-19.
“We’re extremely disappointed by Congress’ failure to approve pandemic funding. If Congress fails to invest in continuing to combat COVID-19 and long-term pandemic preparedness, unnecessary lives will be lost and society will continue to be disrupted by public health crises,” says Made to Save Executive Director, Chris Wyant. “We have made major gains in our ability to protect against COVID-19, but that progress could be reversed—particularly for the communities of color hit hardest —without the infrastructure in place to monitor, respond to, and treat COVID-19.
We see that most people getting very sick are unvaccinated or are medically vulnerable. Vaccines save lives, which is why it remains critical for COVID-19 vaccines to stay free and widely accessible. We also need free and accessible tests to catch COVID-19 early and limit the spread to vulnerable populations. Booster shots provide a crucial extra level of protection against illness, but there remain significant racial gaps in who has gotten boosted. We all have a responsibility to continue to address these gaps.
Make no mistake: failing to pass this critical bill as we approach 1,00,000 lives lost in the US alone endangers lives and will exacerbate health inequities—placing a disproportionate burden on communities of color.”
With federal COVID-19 funds set to run out soon unless Congress approves additional funding, the U.S. capacity will drop significantly for testing, treating COVID-19 infections with monoclonal antibodies and antivirals, and investing in new vaccines. While a newly proposed bipartisan bill called the PREVENT Pandemics Act demonstrates there is at least discussion about long-term preparedness, Congress would still need to secure tens of billions of dollars in funding to turn this blueprint into reality.
So many grassroots organizations in communities across the country—like the ones in Made to Save’s coalition—are working every day to save lives and address health inequities. They cannot do it alone. Made to Save calls on Congress to invest in the lives and safety of the American people by funding the short- and long-term public health measures that will allow us to prevent future deadly surges and respond to them if and when they do arise.
ABOUT MADE TO SAVE
Made to Save is a national public education campaign rooted in grassroots organizing. Our goal is to build trust in the COVID-19 vaccines and increase access in communities who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic. Learn more here.
Made to Save is an initiative of Civic Nation, a 501(c3) nonprofit organization.