The declaration set for May is a wind-down to allow health care and patients the time needed to adjust for the emergency to be over.
On Monday, President Joe Biden's administration took a step forward in how they view COVID-19 going forward. Specifically, the administration's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a statement declaring May 11 as the date they want to declare the end to the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency (PHE). The administration wants to offer this now as a period to transition away and complete their previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the PHE.
In the statement, the administration said the immediate end to the PHE, would be devastating and problematic for individual states, hospitals, providers’ offices. They used the Medicaid program as an example. “During the PHE, the Medicaid program has operated under special rules to provide extra funding to states to ensure that tens of millions of vulnerable Americans kept their Medicaid coverage during a global pandemic,” the OMB statement read.
In order to prepare for the removal of the PHE, Congress enacted an “orderly wind-down of these rules” so millions of people would not lose immediate health coverage and states would not potentially lose billions in funding.
OMB also stated that these ongoing emergency declarations do not impose any COVID-19 restrictions such as mask mandates or vaccine mandates or changes to school or business operations. They also do not require the use of any COVID-19 medicines or tests.
This is another move to illustrate the transition away from the country being in a pandemic state to endemic one.
Last week, the FDA VRBPAC met to decide on changing the current COVID-19 vaccine policy of periodic vaccinations to an annual COVID-19 vaccine.
The VRBPAC group decided upon harmonizing the vaccine strain composition of primary series and booster doses in the US to a single composition, thus leading the way to deliverly of a yearly booster, offered every fall.