Skip to comments.Postal Service to Deliver Medicine in Case of Anthrax Attack, Obama Orders
Posted on 12/30/2009 6:29:03 PM PST by TornadoAlley3
WASHINGTON, DC, December 30, 2009 (ENS) - President Barack Obama today ordered federal agencies to establish a national system for dispensing medical countermeasures in the event of a large-scale biological attack, "with anthrax as the primary threat consideration."
The U.S. Postal Service would be responsible for delivering the medical countermeasures, such as antibiotics, to residents for self administration across all communities in the United States, according to the President's Executive Order issued today.
Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which can cause human disease through ingestion, through the skin, and by inhalation.
Although clinical manifestations of the disease differ by route, inhalational anthrax is the most lethal. The threat from a potential antibiotic-resistant strain of B. anthracis is also recognized.
"An aerosol anthrax attack could result in hundreds of thousands of casualties. Anthrax spores can persist in the environment and pose a continued risk for infection, particularly for workers who decontaminate an infected area," the Department of Health and Human Services stated in a December 2008 report to Congress.
Medical countermeasures against anthrax would be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. (Photo courtesy DHHS)
Within 90 days, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, shall develop a concept of operations and establish requirements for a federal rapid response to dispense medical countermeasures to an affected population following a large-scale biological attack, President Obama ordered.
The Order requires that a plan for supplementing local law enforcement personnel with local federal law enforcement officers as well as other appropriate personnel, to escort U.S. Postal workers delivering medical countermeasures must be developed within 180 days.
This plan will be developed by the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Defense, and the Attorney General, in coordination with the U.S. Postal Service, and in consultation with state and local public health, emergency management, and law enforcement officials.
This policy seeks to "mitigate illness and prevent death; sustain critical infrastructure; and complement and supplement state, local, territorial, and tribal government medical countermeasure distribution capacity," President Obama said in his order.
To ensure that mission essential functions of federal agencies continue to be performed following a biological attack, the federal government must establish mechanisms for the provision of medical countermeasures to personnel performing these essential functions, the order states.
On January 20, 2004, the Secretary of Homeland Security determined that anthrax is a material threat to the U.S. population sufficient to affect national security.
Project BioShield, enacted into law on July 21, 2004, provides the Department of Health and Human Services with authorities to expedite research, development, acquisition, and availability of priority medical countermeasures for public health emergencies caused by terrorist attacks.
The $5.6 billion that became the BioShield Special Reserve Fund for the acquisition of medical countermeasures was appropriated in the fall of 2003.
The Department of Health and Human Services has acquired medical countermeasures such as vaccines, antibiotics, and therapeutics to meet immediate public health needs in the event of an attack.
Anthrax vaccines offer pre-exposure protection to those at risk from anthrax, and they may provide added protection when given with antibiotics as part of post-exposure treatment.
Antibiotics remain a cornerstone of the response strategy to anthrax and the Strategic National Stockpile now has sufficient quantities of antibiotics for over 40 million individuals.
During the period August 2007 - December 2008, the federal government awarded advanced development contracts for anthrax therapeutics, anthrax vaccine, and broad-spectrum antibiotics.
My guess is that one is more likely to catch the anthrax disease from the visit of a postal employee in such an event. Getting the right dosage for the cure and getting it in time and for the number of people in your house or apartment is “above the pay grade” of the “mailpersons” in my zip code.
90 day quick response? Sounds like he is setting up a plan to overthrow the legislative government.
Is your mailbox locked? There was a report out of Boulder that thieves were stealing Christmas cards, hoping for gift cards.
Okay no need to be cynical these care packages of life will arrive safely with the proper postage affixed.
Take your meds.
Sure, I can just see all those efficient and patriotic postal wokers coming into work and delivering this stuff.
The Post Office is run for the benefit of its employees? Ever work there? That’s what I thought! And you do what for a living? Let me guess, something that benefits you.
During the last anthrax scare, it was the Postal Service that spread the disease!
Explicitly excluded from all mail deliveries in case of attack:
I thought using the USPS has Always been part of the plan to distribute any vaccines/anti-gunk stuff anyway....so what makes it so new all of a sudden?
Is the cure worse than the disease?
Anthrax scare. The next pandemic.
Will it come in a red capsule or blue capsule?
Forgive me if I seem a little, er, paranoid. Excuse me while I go close the blinds.
In the year 2525, a resident of the Central Metropolitan Complex receives a package and asks What the hell is anthrax vacine
Oh goody. In my neighborhood you don’t have to be able to read to work at the post office. And in 23 years I have not yet had an overnight package arrive overnight. In fact one got sent back to the sender, weeks later, without us ever having even had a chance to get it! UPS and Fedex have no trouble getting to us.
Really? So then most of everyone who needs it will die?
I question the timing of this report. We’ve had a tangible, credible terrorist attack (attempt) on our country Christmas Day, and it takes him 3 days to come up with a milquetoast response. But all bully and ready for action on anthrax? Just doesn’t make sense.
Unless this is the tail wagging the dog...
Fact is Indeed Stranger than Fiction
“Who better to be in charge of dispensing medical countermeasures to biological weapons because of its capacity for rapid residential delivery.
Hey lets deputize them as Visiting Nurses under the new Obama Health Care Plan and provide syringes too! Thatll get the economy rolling!
Personally I would have chosen FedEx or UPS. My reasoning is that neither of their managements could afford to stuff mail into closets and unused rooms at mail facilities in Waterbury and Wallingford because they dont know how to keep up with such a high volume of mail That might be because their shareholders actually expect them to be profitable. Unlike the USPS which somehow managed to operate in the red to the tune of $68.09 million dollars in 2009 while still raising rates.”
This is old news...
The “Postal Option” already exists within the Cities Readiness Initiative.
(See above link at Centers for Disease Control)
The “Cities Readiness Initiative” is in place and includes the Postal Option.
The Postal Option is PART of an over-all strategy — it’s not the end-all, be-all.
I am a public health bioterrorism planner and the postal option will not work as THE plan. This Executive Order is throwing the whole present planning activity - billions of dollars spent already - into a tail-spin.
Mass confusion is now spreading all of local governments regarding Anthrax terror plans.
Thank you. I see that this is the first “Executive Order” for the USPS involvement, although not the USPS initial inclusion.