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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


On the Scene, Saving Lives

Author: Jonathan N. Greene, Deputy Assistant Secretary, HHS/ASPR Office of Operations and Resources
Published Date: 2/11/2021 11:23:00 AM
Category: National Disaster Medical System; Response & Recovery;

​Responders from the National Disaster Medical System Answer the Call to Service during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

The dedicated individuals of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) - known for their expertise, their teamwork, and their selfless commitment to saving lives during disasters and emergencies - have worked tirelessly on the front lines of health to fight COVID-19. More than 2,500 NDMS responders have deployed since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 and continue to deploy to support federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal partners, providing hospital surge support, administering COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapeutics, supporting mass vaccination efforts, and more.

The breadth and scope of their missions has been nothing short of amazing and I would like to take a moment now to thank all of the men and women of NDMS for their dedication to service.  NDMS responders have been on the frontlines of health from the beginning of the response and they continue to serve.

Here are just a few of their extraordinary efforts in response to COVID-19:

When President Biden recently set the goal of administering 100 million shots in 100 days and expanding access to vaccines to more Americans, NDMS teams deployed to support mass vaccination efforts in Nevada and Arizona, getting shots into the arms of thousands of eligible individuals.
NDMS responder vaccinating patient
Following the FDA authorization of monoclonal antibody therapeutics for treating patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19, NDMS supported temporary infusion clinics in Arizona, California, and Nevada to administer these treatments that can help eligible high-risk adults and children avoid hospitalization. NDMS respodners administer monoclonal antibody therapeutics
NDMS teams deployed to hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country to bolster capacity. From major urban cities to small rural communities, from New York City to the Navajo Nation to Alaska to Guam and points between, NDMS deployed to help frontline healthcare workers provide vital medical care in their communities.   NDMS respoders treating COVID-19 patient.
When, during the initial stages of the pandemic, Americans needed to be brought home from places with high risk for coronavirus infection, such as Wuhan, China and the cruise ship quarantined at Yokohama, Japan, NDMS teams were on the scene. In total, more than 3,000 individuals were brought home during various repatriation and quarantine missions.
Grand Princess Cruise Ship

Responding to COVID-19 was not their only mission. Last year, NDMS responders were deployed to lead and support field operations in the aftermath of nine hurricanes, an earthquake, wildfires that ravaged two states, and seven National Security Special Events (NSSE); often responding within hours of being called.

When these heroes aren’t providing necessary care and services in areas impacted by disasters and other health emergencies, they are the physicians, registered nurses, dentists, paramedics, and other medical and support professionals who we trust with our health on a daily basis. When called upon, these professionals rise to the challenge, carrying on NDMS’s long and proud history of going to where they are needed to protect health and save lives.

When NDMS deploys during a disaster, they make a real difference to the communities they serve.  They set up temporary medical facilities and provide help that can transform hospital operations.  They have helped get shots of COVID-19 vaccine into arms. They have treated more than a thousand eligible COVID-19 patients with monoclonal antibody therapeutic treatments. During this pandemic, they have saved lives, supported frontline healthcare workers, treated patients, and more. Thanks to each and every NDMS professional for your service.

NDMS responders at the Javits Center


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