November 18, 2016
The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Chris Coons (D-DE) that makes anthrax vaccines available to first responders.
The First Responder Anthrax Preparedness Act has been endorsed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Emergency Medical Services Chiefs and the Alliance for Biosecurity.
The legislation directs the Secretary of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to set up a pilot program that provides eligible anthrax vaccines from the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile to first responders who would be at the highest-risk of exposure to anthrax during a potential attack. The vaccines from the stockpile that would be given to law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services would be nearing the end of the vaccines’ labeled dates of use.