On January 18, 2022, the Office of the Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Operations sent an email with the subject “Clarification: Memorandum: Expanded Use of N95 Respirators for Enhanced Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) Omicron Variant Transmission Risk Mitigation.” The clarification email contained information that was inaccurate regarding the number of N95 respirators to be issued to clinical staff, and suggested that the VHA supply of N95 respirators might run out soon. Please be advised that VHA has an ample supply of N95 respirators for all staff who are enrolled in a Respiratory Protection Program, and also has an ample supply of N95 respirators to permit the expanded use of N95 respirators as described in the memorandum of January 12, 2022 from the Deputy Under Secretary for Health Performing the Delegable Duties of the Under Secretary for Health, with the subject “Expanded Use of N95 Respirators for Enhanced Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) Omicron Variant Transmission Risk Mitigation. All facilities should be operating at the CDC Conventional level for PPE for HCP providing direct patient care, which includes no extended use and no re-use.
Please send any questions regarding the expanded use of N95s to VHAOccSafetyandHealthAction@va.gov
Facilities should also continue to use Medical Surgical Prime Vendor (MSPV) contracts as the first and primary source of supply for N95 respirators. Risk of acquiring counterfeit N95s is significant and the use of Government Purchase Cards (GPC) to purchase N95s, including GPC purchases from a MSPV, is not authorized.
• If facilities require additional N95s to support expanded use, they should submit a request through the National Contingency Response Tool (NCRT) (https://ncrt.va.gov/#!/)
• Please address NCRT questions to VHAMSPOPMOSupport@va.gov