CHICAGO | June 6, 2023
Last month on May 11, the public health emergency tied to the COVID-19 pandemic ended. To help people navigate the testing, treatment and healthcare changes during this time, the American Lung Association announced new resources for the public at Lung.org/covid-updates.
Shortly after the pandemic began, the Lung Association launched the COVID-19 Action Initiative, a $25 million, three-year initiative to end COVID-19 and defend against future respiratory virus pandemics. Since March 2020, the organization has funded 24 COVID-19 and respiratory virus grants, reached more than 120 million people with trusted COVID-19 information, engaged over 5,000 community partners across the country and donated more than 300,000 masks.
“We are incredibly proud to have been one of the public health organizations focused on encouraging all Americans to get their COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. As we look back on the last three years, it is incredible to see how many different organizations came together to encourage masking, testing and vaccinations to achieve 70% vaccination rate for the primary series across the country. This was a monumental public health achievement,” said Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Following the end of the Public Health Emergency, it is important to reflect on progress, but also address the work that still needs to be done. COVID-19 is not over, and other respiratory viruses pose threats. In addition, millions of Americans are now living with a new disease called Long COVID that includes a variety of symptoms that can last for weeks, months or years and affects many organs including the lungs.”
The end of the Public Health Emergency means that coverage of COVID-19 testing and treatment is likely to change, however COVID-19 continues to be a health burden in the U.S. Fortunately, access to COVID-19 vaccinations at no cost will generally not be affected at this time. For people with no health insurance, many community health centers are able to provide COVID-19 vaccination, testing and treatment at no cost.
The American Lung Association also expects to see changes to the formulation of the COVID-19 vaccination in the future based on the science. In the meantime, it is critical for everyone to be up to date with the most current vaccination. The Lung Association is monitoring these changes and will provide updated information to the public when it is available at Lung.org/covid-updates. Vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization.
The Lung Association also recommends that everyone get tested right away if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms; seek treatment if they are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness and test positive; stay home if they are sick; and follow COVID-19 hospital admission level guidance as provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The American Lung Association continues to provide science-based information about COVID-19 and to helping educate everyone on the changes that will come with the end of the public health emergency. Learn more at Lung.org/covid19.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.
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