In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress appropriated $2.6 trillion in emergency assistance for people, businesses, the health care system, and state and local governments. GAO is examining many aspects of the federal response and is your source for that fact-based, nonpartisan information. The CARES Act requires GAO to issue bi-monthly reports on the impact of COVID-19.
GAO's Latest Findings
On January 28th, we issued our latest bi-monthly report on the federal pandemic response and our recommendations for improving it. The latest report discusses the continued lack of sufficient federal action in addressing testing, vaccine distribution, the medical supply chain, and other challenges critical to filling gaps in the nation’s pandemic response. Read more about our latest report in our press release here and below.
Vaccine Rollout: The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines has not met expectations. We stressed the importance of having a plan that focused on coordination and communication and recommended that the Department of Health and Human Services, with the support of the Department of Defense, establish a time frame for documenting and sharing a national plan for distributing and administering COVID-19 vaccine, and outline an approach for how efforts would be coordinated across federal agencies and nonfederal entities. We’ve also done work on vaccines under Operation Warp Speed, read more about our work on the Operation Warp Speed Program.
Testing: HHS has not issued a comprehensive and publicly available national testing strategy for COVID-19. Stakeholders involved in the response efforts to combat the pandemic have told us they were not aware that one exists. Such a strategy could help ensure that federal and state testing authorities have the information they need to accomplish shared goals.
Data Collection: The federal government does not have a process to help systematically define and ensure the collection of standardized data across the relevant federal agencies and related stakeholders to help respond to COVID-19, communicate the status of the pandemic with citizens, or prepare for future pandemics. As a result, COVID-19 information that is collected and reported by states and other entities to the federal government is often incomplete and inconsistent.
Medical and Drug Supply Chains: We found that federal agencies do not have complete and accessible information to identifying supply chain vulnerabilities and to report the manufacturing sources of drugs and drug components that they procured.
Strengthening Program Integrity and Protecting Against Fraud: Among GAO’s many recommendations in this area, of particular concern is the slow response to implementation of GAO’s recommendations to improve program integrity and reduce fraud in SBA’s emergency loan programs.
With our latest report, we have now made 44 recommendations since June 2020.
Federal Response to COVID-19 Challenged by Ongoing Supply Shortages, Vaccine Distribution Delays
CARES Act reports and other COVID-19 related reports will also be available to read or embed as an RSS feed from this page: Newest COVID-19 Related Reports.
Operation Warp Speed Program
When it passed the CARES Act in March of 2020, Congress allocated $10 billion to the Operation Warp Speed (OWS) program to accelerate vaccine production and distribution. OWS—a partnership between the Departments of Health and Human Services and Defense—aimed to help accelerate the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. GAO analyzed the readiness of each company’s vaccine technology.
In February, we released an online dashboard that provides an interactive view of vaccine development data. We released a report that looks at how the vaccine companies accelerated and combined some steps in the development process to meet unprecedented timeframes. It also looks at manufacturing challenges and what is being done to address them. For example, agencies have worked to expedite procurement and delivery of critical manufacturing equipment to address manufacturing challenges.
GAO is well-positioned to oversee the federal COVID-19 response, as we have extensive experience reporting fact-based information from officials and organizations across a wide array of federal issues.
GAO, other oversight bodies, and federal officials can use our past pandemic-related reports—and the many recommendations that still apply—to inform their own work. You can find a categorized list of these reports on this page: Past Pandemic-Related Reports.
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You can help us monitor the spending from the record $2 trillion stimulus package. If you suspect waste, fraud, or abuse of stimulus funds, report your concerns through FraudNet. Read April 10 press release.
FraudNet is a GAO program for the public, government workers, and contractors to report allegations of improper activities in the federal government—including fraud, waste, or abuse of funds provided under the CARES Act.