Bill would provide anthrax vaccines to first responders
The First Responder Anthrax Preparedness Act would give first responders priority access to anthrax vaccines on a voluntary basis. These vaccines, which have a short shelf life, would be provided from the surplus in the Strategic National Stockpile.
"The Strategic National Stockpile serves an important public health and safety purpose as a reserve of medicine and medical supplies to be deployed in the event of a major public health emergency, such as a terrorist attack against our nation,” the senators said in a news release. “Unfortunately, an estimated 4 million doses expire unused each year and are thrown away when they could instead be used to better protect our first responders and help prepare them to respond to possible anthrax attacks.
"We're pleased that (the Department of Homeland Security) has begun working with the Centers for Disease Control on a pilot program to do just that, and we are hopeful that the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will take up and pass our legislation so that we can better support the first responders we rely upon in emergency situations."