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November 14, 2005

Safer Smallpox Vaccine

This, I think we can all agree, is very good news:

New vaccine technologies are emerging that offer a fresh chance to devise a strategy against smallpox, the most fearsome potential weapon in the bioterror arsenal.

Two companies are reporting rapid progress in developing a new vaccine designed to be safer than the standard one, and a third company, with no government support, is developing yet another new vaccine. That vaccine could offer significant advantages if terrorists were to unleash the smallpox germ in several cities at once, requiring the vaccination of huge numbers of people.

The government stumbled badly in its campaign after Sept. 11, 2001, to vaccinate health care workers who would respond to a smallpox attack. It has since spent millions to fund development of a new, safer vaccine and has already decided to order enough to protect at least 10 million people. It could buy far more if money becomes available.

A smallpox attack is right up there with nuclear assault on the list of doomsday scenarios for the country.  Buying up stock of the safer, more usable vaccine is exactly what money should be available for.  While I. like every red-blooded American, just looove my tax cuts, obsolete military weaponry, bridges to nowhere, corporate subsidies, and abstinence only sex ed, I would really, really appreciate it if the government could shift around some of that cash to snag me a hit of that safe and effective smallpox vaccine that's kicking around.  I know, I know, it's a lot to ask at a time when the GOP is being unfairly obstructed in their quest to cut another $70 billion in taxes (not to mention their righteous mission to eliminate the estate tax!), but I'm difficult like that.

November 14, 2005 | Permalink


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