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National anthrax vaccination urged

Manufacturer pushing for mass civilian immunization.

Peg Brickley(pegbrickley@hotmail.com)

The United States' sole manufacturer of anthrax vaccine has launched a lobbying blitz, urging lawmakers to back a national immunization strategy for civilians. BioPort Corporation of Lansing, Michigan went to Capitol Hill last week armed with a report predicting that the next wave of anthrax attacks would be even more deadly than last fall's assault, because of the ease of engineering antibiotic-resistant strains.

The company disputes the federal rationale that a shortage of anthrax vaccine makes mass immunization impractical, claiming that BioPort can supply enough vaccine for the entire nation. "At the time that policy was announced, DHHS [Department of Health and Human Services] said that were it not for a supply constraint by the manufacturer, this policy would change," BioPort president Bob Kramer told The Scientist. "It is completely unacceptable for public health and our country's preparedness to be dictated by a capacity constraint," he said....

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