Sen. Gillibrand pushing for COVID-19 and Pandemic Response Centers of Excellence Act

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — As health officials announce more cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) is pushing for a proposal that she says would help the U.S. prepare for new variants.

The legislation designates certain academic medical centers as Pandemic Response Centers of Excellence tasked with combating COVID-19 and new variants like omicron.

It would also set aside $500 million for research, education and training to better prepare for the next pandemic.

[The] COVID-19 and Pandemic Response Centers of Excellence Act would create Centers of Excellence Administration Program at the Department of Health and Human Services that would facilitate information sharing and collaboration among academic medical centers, but also provide those centers with the resources necessary to carry out cutting edge research, patient care and community outreach,” Gillibrand said.

Gillibrand said she believes the recent spread of the omicron variant is a reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing public health challenge.

She first introduced the bill back in July of 2021.