Uncertainty from States Could Lead to Delays in Vaccinations for Frontline Workers in Natural Products Industry
WASHINGTON – The Natural Products Association (NPA) in a letter here to the governors of all 50 states said health food stores should be declared essential in order to ensure that millions of Americans continue to have access to products that support their immune system and protect their health. Additionally, declaring health food stores essential will ensure that frontline workers are able to receive vaccines in a timely manner. NPA made a similar request on December 30, 2020 in a letter to the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Along with Vitamin D supplements which play a role in preventing serious coronavirus cases, health food stores provide a wide range of essential products including water, electrolytes, nutritional supplements, healthy food options and other health-related products such as hand sanitizer.
Declaring health food stores essential would also be consistent with last year’s guidance from the Department of Homeland Security. The overwhelming majority of states (47) also deemed health food stores essential last spring, on par with grocery stores and other essential businesses.
“Reaffirming that health food stores are essential at the state and local level will ensure that our frontline workers can continue providing essential services to millions of Americans as we turn the corner on this pandemic,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., President and CEO of NPA. “Americans are looking to nutritional supplements to support their health more than ever before, and brick-and-mortar retail stores in local communities, many of them small businesses, are a critical source of those products.”
Nutritional supplements play an important role in supporting the health of millions of people in the United States and around the world, especially those who are from areas without adequate access to nutritious foods:
- Zinc deficiency can compromise immune function and increase the risk of infection, affecting an estimated 30% of the global population.
- A World Health Organization (WHO) report specifically showed benefits of zincsupplementation and immunity respiratory viruses in children.
- According to available data, 95 percent of adults and 98 percent of teens have an inadequate vitamin D intake and 61 percent of adults and 90 percent of teens do not get enough magnesium.
- More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in food deserts – areas that are more than a mile away from a supermarket.