HHS issues declaration for experimental Ebola vaccines

The Health and Human Services (HHS) Department is paving the way for the release of three experimental Ebola vaccines. 

On Tuesday, HHS Secretary Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mary Mathews BurwellPrice was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue Overnight Healthcare: GOP chairman to introduce pre-existing condition bill ObamaCare enrollment hits 11.5M for 2017 MORE made a declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act to facilitate the development and availability of experimental vaccines to combat the deadly virus devastating West Africa. 

The declaration gives the U.S. immunity under the law against legal claims related to manufacturing, testing, development, distribution and administration of three vaccines for the Ebola virus. It does not prevent the U.S., however, from being sued in other countries. 

“My strong hope in issuing this PREP Act declaration in the United States is that other nations will also enact appropriate liability protection and compensation legislation,” Burwell said in a news release. 

“As a global community, we must ensure that legitimate concerns about liability do not hold back the possibility of developing an Ebola vaccine, an essential strategy in our global response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.”

BioProtection Services Corp., a subsidiary of Newlink Genetics, Johnson & Johnson and British heathcare company GlaxoSmithKline have made the three vaccine candidates. 

The PREP Act was designed to facilitate the development of medical countermeasures to respond to urgent public health needs, including the development of critical vaccines like those to prevent the spread of Ebola. It has been used 14 times since signed into law in 2005.