This report proposes eight recommendations to strengthen America’s health security and secure U.S. global leadership in the next phase of pandemic response. These recommendations include better unifying and balancing our domestic and international strategies, preserving and strengthening the fragile bipartisanship that has been and remains foundational to success in advancing America’s health security, and better utilizing the vital tools we have to manage the SARS-CoV-2 virus, among others.
Disease Tracking and Surveillance
Disease surveillance helps us detect disease cases, understand burden of disease and risk factors, provide the basis for timely and informed decision-making, guide control measures, and monitor impacts. Since the onset of COVID-19, surveillance efforts have worked to provide real-time tracking and forecast data, despite challenges with diagnostic capacity, case reporting, insufficient contact tracing, and fragmented data systems. COVID-19 has highlighted the need to invest in modern data systems, expand and skill up the workforce, and ensure data reporting and interpretation retain high ethical and epidemiological standards.
Vaccination is one of public health’s most successful tools for preventing and controlling the spread of infectious diseases and, increasingly, cancers and chronic diseases too. Immunization is an effective and cost-efficient strategy that prevents sickness and death in all age groups and saves billions of dollars each year. The COVID-19 epidemic and recent outbreaks of measles and other preventable infectious diseases underscore the importance of vaccines and sustaining high vaccination rates. Work is needed to ensure that people of all ages receive a complete series of the vaccines they need.