Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response (ASPR) and the COVID-19 Therapeutic Response
Hello, I’m Cicely Waters, the Director of External Affairs for the Office of the
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Today, I will provide a brief background about ASPR’s role in emergency response, including the COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, I’ll discuss ASPR’s role in the
distribution of COVID-19 therapeutics and how our partners—like you—can help inform and educate providers and potential patients about COVID-19 treatments.
Our role at ASPR is to help communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from incidents that effect the strength of our nation’s health care system. ASPR partners with hospitals; health care coalitions; biotech firms; community members; and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments across the country to improve readiness and response capabilities.
Since late 2019, ASPR has focused much of its efforts on the COVID-19 pandemic.
key efforts include:
Responding well and quickly to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic by leading the ongoing coordination of the COVID-19 response across the Department of Health and Human Services.
We are restoring resources and capabilities diminished during the pandemic, such as the Strategic National Stockpile, along with securing the public health supply chain.
And we are focusing on preparing for future emergencies by constantly scanning the horizon to be ready for whatever disaster or emergency may come next, whether that’s natural or man-made.
Part of this work includes the fair and equitable distribution of COVID-19 therapeutics.
How is ASPR helping to ensure equitable access to these critical drugs?
Throughout the course of the pandemic, the federal government has purchased and distributed numerous COVID-19 therapeutic products, for free, including oral antiviral medications and monoclonal antibodies, also known as mAbs. We have worked with state and territorial health departments to quickly get the treatments to where they are needed most in communities across the country. We are also providing therapeutics directly to Federally-funded Health Centers and
Federal Retail Therapeutic Pharmacy Partners to help reach all populations.
A national initiative known as
Test to Treat also offers an additional pathway for access to COVID-19 treatments. Through the Test to Treat initiative, individuals can get tested, see a health care provider and, if appropriate, receive a prescription for COVID-19 treatment and have the prescription filled—all in one location or through the support of telemedicine. Since these drugs must be taken within 5 days of first COVID-19 symptoms, every day counts! We’ve also made available an
online locator that helps find Test to Treat sites in your community. We also have educational and outreach tools available to help inform providers and potential patients about available COVID-19 therapeutics. For more information please see the Test to Treat video in this series and
additional resources found in the description.
Because we all know that accurate information can be the difference between life and death, ASPR provides several
COVID-19 therapeutic resources to help health care professionals understand the differences between the treatments, patient eligibility criteria, and where products can be found. Our
Clinical Implementation Guide is a detailed look at each of the available therapeutic products. We also offer a handy
Side-by-Side Outpatient Therapeutics Table that gives a snapshot overview and comparison of the drugs. Our
Decision Aid resource is a quick glance tool to assist health care professionals with identifying which therapeutic may be appropriate for their patients.
For more information, ASPR has created a
COVID-19 therapeutics website. Here you will find a variety of resources, starting with
important updates at the top of the page. Next you will find the featured resources including the Clinical Implementation Guide, the Side-by-Side Table, and the Decision Aid as well as a page that identifies where the COVID-19 therapeutics are
distributed across the country. In addition, you will find individual product pages for each available COVID-19 therapy.
For more information about each of the COVID-19 therapeutic products and their distribution, please see the other videos in this series and other federal resources provided in the description, such as the CDC website and
Within the ASPR website, you can find many more resources. I would like to specifically highlight a Digital Toolkit that can serve as a ready-made resource that you can use to help inform and educate your networks about available COVID-19 therapeutic products. For example, on the
Test to Treat Digital Toolkit page there are downloadable messages, images, and motion graphics that are available and already sized to match different social media platforms.
It truly takes all of us to help ensure providers and potential patients know that these products are available and how they should be used. So, how can YOU help spread the word about COVID-19 therapeutics?
Please use your website, social media channels, newsletters, email distribution, coalitions, and other networks along with any other appropriate communications vehicles to highlight COVID-19 therapeutic options available in your communities because after all, we ARE in this together.
Please connect with ASPR on social media platforms to stay up to date on our latest posts and information that we share. You may also email questions regarding COVID-19 therapeutics to us at
COVID19therapeutics@hhs.gov. Find us online, see the resources linked in the description, and I encourage you to watch the other Outpatient COVID-19 Therapeutics Videos in this series.
Thank you for your time and thank you for all you continue to do to combat COVID-19.