Bioterror Preparedness and Protection Critical

With government and local officials focusing their efforts on stopping groups of terrorist, or cells, and now “lone terrorist” or domestic radicals being in the national spotlight, little attention has been paid to the threat from bioterrorism. According to a recent www.examiner.com, experts and physicians are concerned about the affect a bioterrorism attack could have on first responders at the scene of such an event.

With old and outdated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and little to no vaccine to go around in case of an anthrax attack, first responders are at a great risk if an attack does happen. This would greatly hamper officials’ ability to respond.

While any kind of immunization program would be voluntary, at $50 to $100 per shot, the cost of such a program would be beyond the means of most first responder departments. That is why the Equal Immunization Policies and Practices (EQIPP) project was started in 2008 in affiliation with the Institute of Biosecurity at Saint Louis University School of Public Health. It was the grassroots advocacy efforts of Project EQUIPP that got the CDC involved, and while the CDC does not have the legal authority to sell or donate vaccines to non-profit, state, local or federal entities, it can offer verbal and medical justification to support Project EQUIPP’s efforts.

Looking to partner with philanthropists with a civic mind, in addition to private and corporate entities, Project EQUIPP hopes to be able to inoculate emergency responders against the threat of biological attack. In response to these efforts, emergency personnel in 23 states so far have joined Project EQUIPP as stakeholders in the hope of promoting a solution at the state and local levels.

One U.S. city getting prepared for potential threats, including bio-threats, is Chicago, which will host the duel NATO and G-8 summit in May 2012. The city is securing infrastructure, residential areas, businesses and landmarks.

For more information about bio-threats and planned prevention, visit: http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-chicago/health-experts-ring-alarm-on-bioterror-preparedness-and-protection-1