Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Anthrax Vaccine Distribution Trial Could Start in Early 2013: Official
WASHINGTON -- The United States could move forward early next year with a planned trial initiative to offer anthrax vaccine to select nonmilitary emergency personnel, a senior Homeland Security Department official told lawmakers last week.
The plan, reported by Global Security Newswire in April, would give participating state and local emergency personnel the option of accepting a course of anthrax vaccination doses from the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile of medical countermeasures. The project would examine the potential to more widely distribute the countermeasure to first responders on a voluntary basis.
The department is putting the "final touches" on preparations for "soliciting groups who would be interested in participating in this pilot project," Assistant Homeland Security Secretary Alexander Garza said on Thursday at a joint hearing convened by two House Homeland Security subcommittees.
Garza said the department was still fielding questions on the project from state agencies, local offices and nongovernmental groups. Homeland Security was working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recruit two federal offices and two state offices in the trial initiative, according to earlier reporting.
"As you can imagine, this is a very complex endeavor," he said, referring to challenges in implementing the Defense Department's mandatory anthrax vaccination program. "So it is no small feat to do this time."
The official did not elaborate on difficulties faced by the Pentagon immunization effort, but federal courts have weighed multiple challenges to its legality.
The new initiative is "fairly close" to moving forward, but certain "bureaucratic mechanisms" made the exact timing of implementation difficult to predict, the official said in response to questioning by House Homeland Security emergency preparedness subcommittee Ranking Member Laura Richardson (D-Calif.).
"If pressed, I would say early next year" is a realistic estimate for the rollout, he said.
Note to our Readers
GSN ceased publication on July 31, 2014. Its articles and daily issues will remain archived and available on NTI’s website.
Remarks at side event to the PrepCom for the 2015 NPT Review Conference: “Change in Action: Overcoming Barriers to Non-Proliferation in the Middle East”
May 8, 2014
NTI Vice Chairman Des Browne addressed challenges to nonproliferation in the Middle East in a speech to members of The Middle East Next Generation of Arms Control Specialists network at a side event to the NPT PrepCom in New York.
This article provides an overview of the United States’ historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.