WELL + GOOD: Here’s how the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency could affect you, according to MDs
UC expert gives background on the policy and who will be most impacted by the end of the emergency
The Biden Administration recently announced that the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) and national emergency declarations would be ending on May 11, 2023. The declarations were first announced in early 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. These declarations have been powerful federal decisions that increase access to emergency funding for public health needs and relax red tape around resource access—but they also served as a strong statement to the American people about the risk of a contagious pandemic.
In a story on the end of the emergency, WELL + GOOD interviewed several experts including Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC College of Medicine.
"The policy was developed in response to the COVID pandemic to be able to issue orders, procure drugs/vaccines, and coordinate agency responses," said Fichtenbaum. "More than anything, it provided a vehicle to implement funding measures enacted by Congress and the President."
Some of the biggest impacts this end of the PHE will have on public health will affect the most vulnerable among us, such as immunocompromised individuals, older adults, and children. That number grows if you consider the number of people experiencing long-term COVID complications.
"This will affect citizens who previously had received free testing, it will cost money or you’ll have to use your insurance to test for COVID-19 and vaccinations will now be billed to insurance so that access may be limited for those without insurance," Fichtenbaum told WELL + GOOD. "Subsidies given to companies to produce vaccine and drugs will begin to fade away. And the agencies that retooled to deal with the COVID pandemic will have to go back to regular operations."
Lead image/Getty Images/Westend61
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