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house Bill H.R. 1300

Should First-Responders Have Access to Anthrax Vaccines and Antimicrobials?

Argument in favor

Taking advantage of the vaccines and antimicrobials would be completely voluntary, and could prevent first responders from getting anthrax if it is used in a terror attack.

AndyV's Opinion
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05/30/2015
What good are first responders if they're dead? I want them to have absolutely whatever they might need so that in the event of such an attack they can protect me and my family and other people. I guess common sense isn't so common
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pgshpak's Opinion
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05/31/2015
I find it to be distasteful that this needs to go through congress. The means to respond to emergency events need to be available to first responders. That's the reason they're there. This shouldn't even be going through congress. DHS or local departments should be able to secure this without a bill, but if that's what it takes then sure.
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Scott's Opinion
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08/04/2015
Protect your first responders from potential terrorists.
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Argument opposed

Having vaccines available when there is an anthrax attack is important, but administering vaccines ahead of time is unnecessary.

ThomasParker's Opinion
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05/29/2015
Let's see here: one federal department made a significant error, resulting in anthrax being spread, and now we need another to fix it? No. This is a classic example of the government breaking your leg, giving you a sling, and claiming credit for fixing the problem.
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Mdurham44's Opinion
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05/31/2015
DHS oversight = bad bill and government overstepping their boundaries. No thanks. Sorry First Responders... Maybe if another agency had oversight on this I would be okay with it.
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···
05/30/2015
Take it out of the hands of DHS and place it with the health department and then we can talk.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed July 29th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 424 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Health
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedMarch 4th, 2015

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What is House Bill H.R. 1300?

This bill would direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to give surplus anthrax vaccines and antimicrobials from the national stockpile to be used voluntarily by first responders across the country.

DHS would establish the logistical and tracking systems to make the vaccines and antimicrobials available to first responders wherever they are needed in the U.S., and would also distribute disclosures describing potential risks to users. DHS would also have to:

  • Support risk assessments of how threatening anthrax (in an act of is to homeland security.

  • Leverage homeland security intelligence capabilities and structures to enhance prevention, protection, and recovery efforts in an anthrax attack.

  • Share information and offer analytical support on the threat of anthrax attacks to state, local, and tribal authorities — as well as other national biosecurity and biodefense stakeholders.

A pilot program lasting at least 18 months would be carried out to administer these vaccines and antimicrobials to first responders. This program would involve a communication platform, training, economic analysis, and logistics system to handle vaccine requests. DHS would pick providers in at least two states to participate in the program, and also give those providers disclosures about the risks of the vaccines and antimicrobials.

Impact

First responders who choose to participate in the program, people who terrorize with anthrax, DHS, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and national security.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1300

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: DHS issues a letter to first responders who might have to combat an anthrax attack in their communities. One of their tips is to keep a supply of antibacterial drugs on hand at the emergency personnel’s expense.

In April 2012, DHS made the anthrax vaccine available on a trial basis for first responders at the state and local level through federal funds.

"Does this bill have practical use outside of a terrorist attack?" you might ask. In May 2015 the Department of Defense accidentally shipped out live samples of anthrax spores after mistaking them for samples of dead anthrax used in research. The live anthrax went to research labs in as many as nine states, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been tasked with containing the samples. A Pentagon spokesperson has publicly stated that there is “no known risk to the public.”


Of Note: The CDC has designated anthrax as a Tier 1 bioterror weapon — meaning that it could cause mass casualties or have a devastating impact on the economy.

Shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, anthrax was mailed to several U.S. media offices and two Democratic Senators — killing  five people and infecting 17 more.


Media:


Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: "Bacillus anthracis Gram" This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #2226. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons) (Alternate Image of vaccine— Flickr user us7thfleet)

AKA

First Responder Anthrax Preparedness Act

Official Title

To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to make anthrax vaccines and antimicrobials available to emergency response providers, and for other purposes.

    What good are first responders if they're dead? I want them to have absolutely whatever they might need so that in the event of such an attack they can protect me and my family and other people. I guess common sense isn't so common
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    Let's see here: one federal department made a significant error, resulting in anthrax being spread, and now we need another to fix it? No. This is a classic example of the government breaking your leg, giving you a sling, and claiming credit for fixing the problem.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    I find it to be distasteful that this needs to go through congress. The means to respond to emergency events need to be available to first responders. That's the reason they're there. This shouldn't even be going through congress. DHS or local departments should be able to secure this without a bill, but if that's what it takes then sure.
    Like (4)
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    It could be too late by the time they decide to administer it. Unnecessary? Anything that could wipe out a small town is nothing to be toyed with "until it's time".
    Like (4)
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    Protect your first responders from potential terrorists.
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    If individuals who 'respond first' are at danger, there will be fewer 'first responders'. It is important to invest in those who want to help.
    Like (3)
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    They don't? If not it's wrong to deny them this
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    First responders are dutiful and courageous. They should have the option for these vaccines.
    Like (2)
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    Time is of the essence when treating victims
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    Why not? It seems unreasonably pissy to not protect 1st responders as much as possible!
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    If they want to pay for it... Yes i believe anyone should be able to get any vaccine they can afford
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    As a 18 month pilot program, let's see how it works.
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    We can't just stand by and allow first responders to be exposed to Anthrax.
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    My son is a first responder and cares more for the patient than himself
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    Of course they should. They are on the front lines hence the name First Responder. If they are not vaccinated then who is going to combat the threat and prevent further deaths?
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    I still believe an MD should see patient first.
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    Anthrax vaccines are a long and strenuous series, having them available to everyone at risk is valuable, but if we can anticipate a threat enough in advance to administer the vaccine, we should just deal with the threat
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    This aught to allow treatment for such victims to begin at crucial times; how many people die while strapped to the back of an ambulance while paramedics are trying to race around unruly traffic? This should be the rule for all vaccines.
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    Word cost-effective, I would make this one of the mandatory innoculations across the country. Since that is not physically viable let's at least get those who are tasked with saving our lives
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    Being a first responder should not put one at more risk than necessary. This gives them a leg up to do their jobs.
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