The Department of Defense (DoD) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to partner in defeating COVID-19 while preparing for future public health emergencies.
The agreement establishes the framework of DoD continuing to support HHS with acquisition efforts expanding the domestic industrial capacity of health and medical resources; procuring diagnostics and medical supplies for the Strategic National Stockpile; and expediting development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Andrea Palm signed the MOU. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, via the Defense Assisted Acquisition Cell (DA2), is slated to review assisted acquisition requests from HHS while determining which acquisition authorities and resources are best suited to support the efforts and executing agreements to fulfill the defined requirements.
The MOU is to remain in place until at least Sept. 30, 2023. The DoD recently awarded three agreements amounting to $650 million to Clinical Enterprise, Inc. (Eurofins), PerkinElmer Health Sciences, Inc., and Battelle Memorial Institute to expand domestic K-8 schools COVID-19 testing, as well as testing for underserved populations and sites such as homeless shelters.