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U.S. Eliminates up to 2M Anthrax Vaccine Doses Yearly: Homeland Security

A senior U.S. Homeland Security Department official on Tuesday said the federal government eliminates as many as 2 million doses of stockpiled anthrax vaccine that have passed their expiration date, Fierce Homeland Security reported (see GSN, April 9).

Anthrax vaccine doses are stored alongside other medical countermeasures against disease outbreaks and WMD attacks within the Strategic National Stockpile. Expired materials are tossed out upon expiration, Principal Deputy Assistant Homeland Security Secretary James Polk told a House Homeland Security panel.

The value of 2 million anthrax vaccine doses would be about $48 million.

In order to deal with lapsed stocks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has to procure a significantly greater amount of vaccines for a disease than actually considered necessary for storage, according to the report. The Health and Human Services agency acquired 29 million anthrax vaccine doses between 2006 and 2011 to ensure it had no fewer than 10 million doses ready for use, according to a 2011 Congressional Research Service report.

Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control are preparing a pilot program that would provide first response agencies with anthrax vaccines that are close to expiration (David Perera, Fierce Homeland Security, April 18).

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