Accession Number:

ADA465410

Title:

Vaccine Policy Issues

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2005-05-19

Pagination or Media Count:

24.0

Abstract:

This reports focus is on vaccination, one of the most cost-effective methods available to prevent infectious diseases. Whether a vaccines target is naturally occurring or present because of hostile intent, the issues policy makers must deal with include vaccine development, production, availability, safety, effectiveness, and access. Vaccines are biologics their basic components begin as living material. They introduce bacteria or dead or weakened viruses into a person or animal to stimulate an immune reaction that the body will remember if assaulted by the same pathogen in the future. There is no central federal authority for vaccine policy. In the Department of Health and Human Services HHS, the National Vaccine Program Office NVPO coordinates vaccine-related activities, and the Food and Drug Administration FDA is responsible for the regulation of vaccines and other biologics. Also involved in vaccine activities are other components of HHS e.g., the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Concerned about bioterrorist attacks in the United States, the 107th Congress passed several vaccine-related measures and the 108th Congress continued with legislative and oversight activities regarding the development and purchase of vaccines against possible bioterrorist attacks and dealing with the sudden shortage of influenza vaccine at the outset of the 2004-2005 flu season. Obstacles to vaccine availability such as production costs, concern for liability expenses, weak markets, and difficulties in predicting need often have economic roots. As mechanisms to enhance availability, Congress may consider financial incentives, public-private partnerships, improved coordination, and alternatives to safety and effectiveness documentation.

Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Microbiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Sociology and Law

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE