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Senators want unused anthrax vaccines going to first responders

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A bipartisan group of senators wants to give anthrax vaccines to first responders, suggesting it could help prepare against potential future attacks.

Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) have introduced legislation that would establish a two-year pilot program to give vaccines that are nearing their expiration from the country’s strategic national stockpile to emergency responders “for the purpose of domestic preparedness for and collective response to terrorism.” 
 
{mosads}The senators also want the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to back an analysis of the risk and potential threat posed by a terrorist attack that includes anthrax, and to talk to local and state governments about what threat they face from an anthrax attack.
 
The senators said in a statement Tuesday that while the strategic stockpile serves “an important public health and safety purpose,” some vaccines are going to waste. 
 
“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,” they said.  
 
They added that the DHS is currently working on a similar pilot program, but that they still “are hopeful” the Senate will pass their legislation “so we can better support the first responders we rely upon in emergency situations.” 
  
Tags Chris Coons Kelly Ayotte

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