Nine months into the pandemic, slightly shorter for America at 6 months, and yet we are STILL short of PPE.
And we are talking about Food & Drug Administration or FDA-approved medical PPE such as medical-grade trifold masks, KN95 respirators (which are crucial to doctors when taking care of patients) and medical-grade examination gloves, our medical insider says.
A quick glance at the FDA shortage list shows even examination gowns are in short supply.
There’s a shortage because America hasn’t been able to make enough of the products itself and are still relying on imports from big suppliers like China and Malaysia.
Independent media outlet NPR said ten days ago that the reason for the mayhem was a lack of a coherent national plan by the Trump administration.
Local manufacturers are busy converting their production lines to focus on making PPE but they are making all the wrong PPE. Right now there are too many face shields and hand sanitizers and without a centrally coordinated plan, who knows what to focus on making?
Some have shifted to making the short-in-supply N95 respirators but it might be a case of “too little too late” and now nurses and doctors are re-using masks.
In the case of gloves, our medical insider says its shortage is due to a US Customs and Border Protection ban on exports from two of the largest makers in Malaysia on allegations they were using forced labour. Worst still, raw materials for making gloves are also in shortage so local manufacturers can’t hurry along even if they wanted to.
(Malaysia blasted the decision, saying problems at the company had been exaggerated and demanded the US prove the allegations. Alas, politics continue to hurt America’s ability to cope with the pandemic).
Luckily, our medical insider says China has gloves and as long as certification is smooth sailing gloves from China can be shipped to America quickly. So far so good but there have been problems in the past due to a surge of counterfeit products.
In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to do a stocktake of your N95 masks and gloves and plan ahead in case you need to make some orders with us now.
To help you with working out how much you need, check out our previous guide here.