This morning, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an extension of WIC flexibilities until thirty days after the end of the nationally-declared public health emergency. Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association, issued the following statement in response.
“WIC providers adapted swiftly to continue vital nutrition and breastfeeding support for pregnant and postpartum women, babies, and young children throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, all while minimizing in-person contact to keep families and clinic staff safe. With Congressional authority soon set to expire, USDA is making the right choice to extend essential health and safety flexibilities for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
“WIC waivers work. By reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and creating more options for participants, WIC has not only continued to support the nutrition needs of participating families but also has reached hundreds of thousands of families that are only newly eligible due to changing economic circumstances. As the job market continues to absorb the impact of COVID-19, WIC remains ready to serve all eligible families and support the healthy growth and development of pregnancies, babies, and young children.
“For months, providers and our partners in the medical and advocacy communities have called on USDA to make this common-sense decision. With the authority to issue waiver extensions set to expire in less than ten days, WIC providers now have the certainty they need to continue to safely deliver quality nutrition support for the remainder of the pandemic.”