At midnight on Friday, January 19, the U.S. government officially shut down as members of Congress were unable to agree on a stopgap funding measure. Depending on how long it continues, this shutdown could significantly affect public health, because about 41,000 Department of Health and Human Services employees were sent home or furloughed.
Here are some changes resulting from the government shutdown that could impact your health:
- Suspension of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) flu-tracking program and the agency’s involvement in developing a flu vaccine for next year
- Reduction the CDC’s ability to investigate infectious-disease outbreaks
- Suspension of new patient enrollment in clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Discontinuation of routine inspections and laboratory research conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Possible suspension of the Meals on Wheels program for seniors in some areas of the country