Medical Countermeasure Readiness

MCMS Can Include

What are Medical Countermeasures?

Medical countermeasures, or MCMs, are life-saving medicines and medical supplies regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that can be used to diagnose, prevent, protect from, or treat conditions associated with chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) threats, emerging infectious diseases, or a natural disaster.

Why are MCMs Important?

Having enough medicines and supplies stored can help save the lives of those who may need them the most during a public health emergency.

How do MCMs Get to the Public?

Health care workers and public health responders may dispense or administer MCMs under official federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial emergency response plans.

What is CDC’s Role?

In the event of CBRN threats, emerging infectious diseases, or natural disasters, state, local, tribal, or territorial health departments may need medicines and medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile if local supplies are depleted. Through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program, CDC collaborates with states and local jurisdictions to ensure they have plans and processes in place to receive and provide life-saving medicines and supplies.

CDC experts provide:

  • Guidance – To help health departments develop, test, operationalize, and improve preparedness and medical countermeasure plans
  • Technical Assistance To provide information and resources to ensure health departments are ready to respond to threats that might require medical countermeasures
  • Evaluation – To standardize approaches and tools to measure the readiness of health departments to get life-saving medicines and supplies to the public

What is CDC’s Cities Readiness Initiative?

CDC’s Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) is a federally funded program designed to enhance preparedness in the nation’s largest population centers, where nearly 60% of the population resides, to effectively respond to large public health emergencies needing life-saving medicines and medical supplies. Learn more about CRI.

MCM Readiness In Action

Example of Measles

A 2017 measles outbreak infected 70 people in and around Minneapolis. Epidemiologists and home visitors investigated new cases and counseled potential cases throughout the course of the event. The health department also set up a clinic after a local school was exposed. The measles outbreak was curtailed, vaccination rates increased, and there was positive community dialogue about the importance of vaccination.

Influenza Vaccination

In September 2016, the Oklahoma State Health Department needed assistance distributing influenza vaccines across the state. The state SNS team incorporated the vaccine distribution into its regularly scheduled MCM exercise.

Page last reviewed: October 15, 2018