AAP sends letters advocating for immediate actions to increase supply and the government’s capacity to respond
Washington, DC—As the national shortage in infant formula continues, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) wrote two letters to federal officials urging immediate action at every level of government to increase the supply of safe infant formula in the United States.
“What families of young children are experiencing right now is a crisis on top of a crisis; they have been through so much already with the pandemic, and now many families are struggling to find safe ways to feed their babies,” said AAP President Moira Szilagyi, MD, PhD, FAAP. “We urge the White House and Congress to use every lever of authority they have to rapidly address this crisis and get formula back on store shelves. For many infants, formula is their only source of nutrition. The situation is dire.”
While the AAP appreciates the recent steps announced by the White House to increase formula supply, its letter urges that more needs to be done, especially for low-income families who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, to obtain infant formula, in light of variations in access between states. The letter urges a clear timeline for families to know when to expect formula supply to return to baseline levels as well as information about how scarce supplies can be prioritized to those in dire need. The letter calls on the White House to “use every tool at its disposal to remedy this situation as quickly as possible and to provide clear communications to families.”
The shortage is deepening inequities as families with the fewest resources may lack transportation to visit multiple stores every week, or the means to pay inflated prices offered by unscrupulous sellers.
“Pediatricians across the country are providing guidance to families, caring for children who are now hospitalized due to not having access to formula products, and doing our best to connect our patients with what little supply exists, but we need help,” said Dr. Szilagyi. “This moment calls for innovative ideas, rapid action and clear, coordinated communication. Families are panicking and infants’ health and nutrition is at stake.”
The Academy also wrote a letter to Congress, urging action to:
The AAP advises families:
“We are especially concerned about formula-fed infants younger than six months who rely on formula as their sole source of nutrition, and children with metabolic and other conditions who rely on specialty formulas no longer in production in the United States,” said Dr. Szilagyi. “These families have even fewer options. Pediatricians are here to support them, but we need an urgent solution to this crisis. Every parent and pediatrician knows that a hungry baby cannot wait an hour, let alone several more weeks or months.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.