Panel object to using bioterrorism funds for swine flu

Published 9 June 2009

The Obama administration’s requested to take $3 billion from the Project BioShield Special Reserve Fund for use in the effort to contain sine flu; expert panel says it a risky move

A White House request to raid U.S. funds set aside to fight bioterrorism for swine flu pandemic preparations is dangerous, a bipartisan panel says.

UPI reports that the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism is opposing the Obama administration’s request to take $3 billion from the Project BioShield Special Reserve Fund, created five years ago to fight nuclear, biological or chemical threats, to help pay for flu vaccine, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Using BioShield funds for flu preparedness will severely diminish the nation’s efforts to prepare for WMD events and will leave the nation less, not more, prepared,” commission Chairman and former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Florida), and Vice Chairman and former Sen. James Talent (R-Missouri), wrote President Obama in a letter sent Sunday.

The administration says it already has enough money to produce as many as two doses of swine flu vaccine for every American without using the BioShield funds, but was seeking the extra money should the H1N1 virus mutate into a more lethal form, the Post reported. “Except in extraordinary circumstances, BioShield funds will not be accessed,” Office of Management and Budget spokesman Kenneth Baer said the newspaper.