PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As President Biden takes action to get more baby formula on store shelves, Oregon’s senators are pushing for more urgency.
Earlier this week, the president invoked the Defense Production Act — launching Operation Fly formula, both expected to speed up supply chains.
While Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley acknowledged the actions the president has taken,
they made themselves clear on Thursday that they don’t think it’s enough.
The senators are calling for a government-wide response, urging President Biden to immediately assign a coordinator within the White House to make a national strategy for increasing the resiliency of the supply chain.
They want a plan to protect against future contamination shortages like the one prompted by major supplier Abbott.
Doctors in the area say there is enough formula for all babies right now, but that it needs to be evenly distributed among them.
Cory Huskey and his wife had gotten some formula at their baby shower for their now one-year-old daughter.
“I can tell you now from personal experience, there are a lot of people that desperately need this,” Huskey said.
Huskey explained that his wife is able to nurse, so when the store shelves became empty, they decided to offer their formula for free on Next Door and immediately started getting phone calls and messages.
“It was 10 o’clock at night and she was dealing with a crying baby that wouldn’t feed. And so, I told her I would wait for her. I stayed up for a bit and she met me at my house. I gave it to her, she looked absolutely exhausted,” Huskey explained.
While Oregon parents are having trouble finding infant formula, health professionals suggest trying a different brand, calling your doctor to see if they have samples and advice or use toddler formula for a few days for babies close to one-year-old. But they warn to not water down formula or try to make it at home –you can’t use toddler formula for younger babies – and to not discard formula unless it’s expired or recalled.
However, University of Washington professor of pediatrics Dr. Beth Ebel says she hopes more people will offer neighbors formula.
“Many people have a lot of formula at home from the pandemic and so on. And if you have a big bunch of it, please consider donating it to your pediatrician for now,” Dr. Ebel said.
But she said younger babies are in the most need right now.
“If you have a baby under six months, that baby needs formula and there really isn’t a good substitute for it. So, I would suggest that you, in addition to checking with friends and family, if you’re really stuck, talk to your pediatrician or your child’s doctor,” Dr. Ebel said.