Fla. Dems: Shift funds to prevent delay in Zika vaccine

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Washington, DC, August 10, 2016 | comments


Fla. Dems: Shift funds to prevent delay in Zika vaccine

By Peter Sullivan - 08/10/16 03:01 PM EDT

A group of Democratic lawmakers from Florida is calling on the Obama administration to take money from other areas to continue work on a vaccine for Zika.

Administration health officials have warned that the National Institutes of Health will run out of money for vaccine development at the end of August, and that Phase II trials could be delayed.

The congressional Democrats say that the ideal solution would be for Republicans to agree to pass the White House’s request for new Zika funding. But with congressional action still stalled, they want the administration to act on its own and use money from other areas.

The group of eight lawmakers signing a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary(HHS)  Sylvia Burwell is led by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, who is facing a primary challenge.

Other signers include Reps. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) and Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), who are both running for Senate.

“We recognize that any options that involve moving resources from other parts of your budget require raiding other vital work that is being done at your Department,” the lawmakers write. “And, for this reason, we would only recommend this type of extraordinary step if there were no other choice. Unfortunately, the Republican Congress has left you no other options.”

Burwell said in a letter to Congress earlier this month that she is "evaluating all options in order to avoid delaying the development of a Zika vaccine.”

She also urged Congress to provide new funding.


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