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Stockpile Responses


The National Pharmaceutical Stockpile was created in 1999 to ensure the nation’s readiness against potential agents of bioterrorism like botulism, anthrax, smallpox, plague, viral hemorrhagic fevers, and tularemia. The mission was to assemble large quantities of essential medical supplies that could be delivered to states and communities during an emergency within 12 hours of the federal decision to use the stockpile.

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks prompted federal legislation and directives to strengthen public health emergency readiness. In 2003, the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile was renamed Strategic National Stockpile.

Since its beginning, the stockpile has responded to multiple large-scale emergencies including floods, hurricanes, and influenza pandemics. It has also supported various small-scale deployments for the treatment of individuals with life-threatening infectious diseases like anthrax, smallpox, and botulism.

vertical timeline description below

*Not shown above: Frequent, small-scale unique medical countermeasure responses for anthrax and smallpox and routine deployments of jointly rotated vaccine stocks to supply Department of Defense requirements.

2021 – Unaccompanied Children

SNS is providing critical PPE and medical supplies to multiple National Disaster Medical System and U.S. Public Health Service teams, which are providing medical support and case management at emergency intake sites for unaccompanied children at the U.S. southern border.

2020-2022 – COVID-19

*As of August 3, 2022:

  • 27,535 tons of cargo shipped to support U.S. repatriation efforts and state PPE needs
    • 748 flights transporting supplies
    • 5,745 trucks transporting supplies
  • Assigned more than 200 staffers to serve in the stockpile's operation center
  • Engaged 411 private industry partners for medical supply chain and delivery 
  • Supporting the National Vaccination Campaign with vaccine ancillary supply and mixing kits to support 1.32 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses and with autoinjectors of epinephrine to support the potential treatment of allergic reactions
  • Expanded and enhanced SNS capabilities to respond to nationwide emerging infectious disease, now and in the future.

2019 – Hurricane Dorian

  • Deployed medical supplies to support responders with ASPR’s National Disaster Medical System
  • Deployed two liaisons to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary’s Operations Center in Washington, D.C.
  • Assigned approximately 50 staffers to serve in the stockpile’s operations center

2017 - Hurricanes Harvey, Irma & Maria

Hurricane Harvey & Irma

  • Deployed 6 Federal Medical Stations, 12 strike team members, 1 liaison to the Incident Response Coordination Team in Texas and 3 liaisons to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary’s Operations Center in Washington, D.C.
  • Set up two Federal Medical Stations in Houston – one at the George R. Brown Convention Center and the other at the NRG Center. Four were ready on standby – two in Texas and two in Louisiana – so they could be set up at a moment’s notice.
  • Assigned approximately 45 staffers to serve in the stockpile’s team room

Hurricane Maria

  • Arrived in Puerto Rico with Federal Medical Stations and staff within 48 hours of receiving orders from HHS
  • Shipped six Federal Medical Stations to Puerto Rico, and set up in the cities of Manati, Bayamón, Ponce, and Arecibo
  • Engaged 120 personnel, including strike team members, supply chain experts and other responders at stockpile facilities and in the field
  • Deployed liaisons to the HHS Secretary’s Operation Center in Washington, D.C. and to the Incident Response Coordination Team in San Juan.
  • Coordinated delivery of four refrigerators, 42,000 meals ready-to-eat, 177,000 bottles of water and ancillary supplies for vaccines.
  • Established warehouse service and ground transportation in Puerto Rico, specifically a 10,000 square foot medical distribution center supporting all medical supplies for the Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and Federal Medical Stations across the island of Puerto Rico.
  • Restocked Federal Medical Station operations with a new shipment of medicines and supplies.
  • Purchased and deployed vaccines for hepatitis A and B, tetanus, pneumococcal, rabies and influenza as well as surplus medical supplies to assist in USVI and Puerto Rico’s public health needs.

Overall, $4.5 million in supplies were purchased and deployed on 26 flights carrying more than 347 tons of cargo to support public health needs in Puerto Rico and USVI.

2016-17 - Zika

In the midst of the Zika virus outbreak, the stockpile:

  • Collaborated with the CDC Foundation to help obtain Zika prevention products, including insect repellent, larvicides, mosquito netting, and condoms, to prevent sexual transmission of Zika, as well as educational materials
  • Activated staff to rapidly assemble and deliver approximately 31,000 Zika Prevention Kits for distribution to pregnant women in affected areas
  • Initiated contracts for mosquito control efforts
  • Sprayed more than 9,000 homes, hospitals, schools and churches to prevent the spread of the virus in U.S. territories and island jurisdictions
  • Deployed 22 stockpile personnel to U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands

2014–2015 - Ebola and Botulism 

  • Coordinated with supply chain partners to identify gaps between commercial supply of personal protective equipment and existing inventory at U.S. hospitals designated as Ebola Treatment Centers. The hospitals were prioritized for orders and the rapid delivery of key products such as gowns, coveralls, aprons, boot covers, gloves, face shields and disinfecting wipes in the event the hospitals received an Ebola patient.
  • Established a small stockpile of Ebola-specific personal protective equipment to meet urgent, short-term needs until commercial sources could respond to the demand
  • Deployed 54 staff to support the Ebola response with 61 assignments in the CDC Emergency Operations Center, 5 major U.S. airports, and West Africa
  • Provided 50 vials of Botulism Antitoxin Heptavalent to Ohio for the largest botulism outbreak in the United States in the past 40 years

2012 - Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy 

  • Deployed staff and seven Federal Medical Stations to New Jersey and New York.
  • Deployed Commissioned Corps Officers to staff the Federal Medical Stations in response to Hurricane Sandy
  • Deployed two Federal Medical Stations to Louisiana – one to Baton Rouge and the other to New Orleans – in response to Hurricane Isaac

2011 - Hurricane Irene 

  • Deployed one Federal Medical Station to Camp Hartwell, Connecticut for preparedness

2010 - North Dakota Flooding and Hurricane Alex

  • Deployed two Federal Medical Stations – one to Bismarck, North Dakota, and the other to National Guard Armory – for preparedness
  • Deployed two Federal Medical Stations in response to Hurricane Alex

2009 - H1N1 Pandemic Influenza and North Dakota Flooding

  • Supported a coordinated response to the initial phase of H1N1 “swine flu” outbreak by shipping 25 percent of its total supply of influenza antiviral medications to 62 areas in 7 days. The stockpile also responded to the outbreak by delivering peramivir IV, based on more than 1,300 requests from doctors treating H1N1 patients.
  • Deployed two Federal Medical Stations – one to Bismarck and the other to Grand Forks – in response to North Dakota flooding in 2009

2008 - Hurricanes Gustav and Ike

  • Responded to Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna, and Ike by deploying 24 Federal Medical Stations to support the states of Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas with approximately 6,000 beds over a 30-day period.

2005 – Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

In response to requests from Louisiana and Mississippi related to Hurricane Katrina, the stockpile:

  • Sent 3,500 beds and critical medications for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, pain, anxiety, and diarrhea
  • Delivered more than 130,000 tetanus/diphtheria vaccines; close to 145,000 hepatitis A, and hepatitis B vaccines to Louisiana; and a host of other childhood vaccines for measles/mumps/rubella, chickenpox, etc. to treat children in shelters
  • Delivered 10,000 vials of insulin to Mississippi and 20,000 to Louisiana
  • Launched three special flights early in the response for expedited delivery of controlled substance pain medications, intravenous (IV) re-hydration fluids, insulin, and stockpile experts to Louisiana
  • Shipped 28 ventilator kits to the New Orleans airport to aid in evacuation of patients with critical health concerns

In response to Hurricane Rita, the stockpile sent medical supplies and Federal Medical Stations (totaling 2,000 beds) to assist in local response efforts. Beds were set up at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, as well as in Waco and Marlin, Texas.

2001 – World Trade Center and Anthrax Attacks

  • Deployed pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to New York City within 7 hours on Sept. 11, 2001
  • Responded to the anthrax crisis of 2001 by delivering vaccines and medicines for oral prophylaxis to more than 50 sites in 11 states and Washington, DC, within 5 hours

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