Missteps during the recent distribution of the H1NI vaccine caused many analysts to fear how the US might respond to a large-scale bio-terrorism attack. A report, released today by a congressionally appointed commission might not do much to ease those fears.
More than eight years after the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, the United States is still unprepared to respond to the threat of large-scale bioterrorism, a congressionally appointed commission said Tuesday in a report that gave the government mixed grades overall for how it has protected Americans from weapons of mass destruction.
The report, which measured the government’s performance in 17 key areas, gave the White House and Congress “F” grades for not building a rapid-response capability for dealing with disease outbreaks from bioterrorism, or providing adequate oversight of security and intelligence agencies.
Within hours of the report’s release, the Obama administration revealed plans to fill gaps in the nation’s public health defenses with a series of initiatives to be announced in Wednesday’s State of the Union address. The proposals, which administration officials said had been in the works well before the report’s findings were known, will seek to speed up delivery of drugs in the event of a major attack, addressing one of the principal shortcomings identified by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.