(CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may launch a pilot plan to offer anthrax vaccination to first responders early in 2013, a DHS official said at a congressional hearing yesterday.
In response to questions, Alexander Garza, MD, MPH, DHS's chief medical officer and assistant secretary for health affairs, was reluctant to discuss timing but said the trial program may be ready to debut "early next year."
Disclosure: The University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, which publishes CIDRAP News, has produced training programs and materials for the BioWatch program. The news team has no involvement in the center's BioWatch work.
In the wake of a newspaper investigation that questioned the value of the federal BioWatch program for detecting dangerous airborne pathogens, some public health officials familiar with the program acknowledge that it's far from perfect, but they say it's not time to scrap it.