Nov 10, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The current shortage of influenza vaccine has generated new support for proposed federal legislation introduced last January that would make the production of flu vaccine more financially attractive, according to sponsors of the bill.Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, announced recently that their proposed Flu Protection Act of 2004 has won endorsements from the American Public Health Association, the American Lung Association, and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).In a news release, Bayh and Craig expressed hope that Congress will act on the bill in its lame-duck session, which begins next week. They also said the number of sponsors for the bill has doubled to ten since the loss of flu vaccine from Chiron Corp. in October triggered the current vaccine shortage.Among other things, the bill directs the government to buy any flu vaccine doses that manufacturers can’t sell by the end of the flu season.”It’s a buy-back plan,” Meg Keck, a spokeswoman for Bayh, told CIDRAP News. “It takes away the economic disincentive that the manufacturers currently face if they produce a surplus. Right now they have to eat that cost.”The legislation, Senate bill 2038, also offers a 20% tax credit for the cost of building or expanding vaccine production facilities, Keck said. The measure also directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a contingency plan for dealing with future vaccine shortages and to run an annual public education campaign on the importance of flu vaccination.Bayh and Craig said they wrote letters to Senate leaders and the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them to take up the legislation so that appropriate steps can be taken in time for next year’s flu season. “The plan is ready, the support is growing—Congress needs only to act to protect the American people from another flu season nightmare,” Bayh said in the news release.Keck said the bill was introduced last January in the Senate Finance Committee and the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. She noted that last year’s flu season arrived early and concern about vaccine supplies had died down by January. The bill remained in committee because “there wasn’t a sense of urgency at the time,” she said.Keck said she is not aware of any particular opposition to the bill. “I think it’s a straightforward, fiscally responsible way to make sure we won’t have another flu vaccine shortage,” she said. She noted that Craig is the only Republican sponsor or cosponsor of the bill.Bayh’s news release said the legislation also calls for increased government-industry cooperation to provide accurate estimates of the amount of vaccine needed each year and authorizes funds to encourage the creation of more vaccine producers.The bill calls for the CDC director to contract with manufacturers each year to produce the amount of vaccine the CDC thinks will be needed. If any of that supply remains unsold by the end of the flu season, the CDC would pay for it at a mutually negotiated price, the bill specifies.Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson has said he supports the idea of a government guarantee to buy flu vaccine in order to protect manufacturers from losses if the demand for vaccine is overestimated. Phone calls to HHS to ask about the department’s position on Bayh’s bill were not returned in time for this story.A companion bill, HR 3758, has been introduced in the House by Rep. Rahm Emmanuel, D-Ill., and has 13 cosponsors.See also:Library of Congress’s Thomas site for information on and text of Senate bill 2038 (search “S 2038”)http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.html
France’s Dunkirk liquefied natural gas import terminal accommodated a total of 37 LNG carriers during the first five months of the year. Dunkerque LNG, the operator of the facility said that these are the record high numbers for the facility that was commissioned on January 1, 2017.“This intense level of activity is due to a complex combination of factors linked to the supply of and demand for LNG on global markets as well as the appeal of the Dunkirk LNG terminal in the market of north-west Europe,” Pierre Dumont, sales manager at Dunkerque LNG, said.Year-to-date, 40 liquefied natural gas tankers have docked at the facility, the statement reads. This figure should be compared with the 17 unloading and reloading operations of 2018.“The huge influx of LNG at our terminal is attributable, in part, to the supply of and demand for LNG on the global market,” Dumont said.Supply is higher than expected due, in particular, to the production of LNG that was early and greater than initially foreseen at the Yamal LNG plant: an overproduction that the Russians chose to channel primarily and for now towards European markets.At the same time, the United States successfully started up new production capacity and European imports from historical suppliers of LNG (Qatar, Nigeria, Norway and Algeria) also increased, Dunkerque LNG said.“However, the increase in supply occurs at a time when demand in Europe is stable and demand from Asia is rising more slowly than expected, particularly in China,” Dumont notes.He added that LNG producers have been forced to find the best possible outlets or supply their LNG volumes while taking into account the new market conditions.
MORE: ‘Change starts with us,’ Eagles owner says Prescott commented on the situation with an Instagram post Wednesday that started: “As a black multiracial American, I am disgusted and unsettled!”Prescott backed those protesting but does not believe looting or violence is the answer. “I have viewed these protests and riots in our streets as a form of strength and an attempt to show we as black people have rights that aren’t being perceived equally as our counterparts,” he said. View this post on Instagram “How can you claim to uphold the law when those within your own ranks don’t abide by it? You need to hold your own accountable!”Prescott said he is taking action with the donation and “will act alongside of all of you!”He added: “We will clean our streets and our communities not only of the looting and violence, but most importantly the racism, racial profiling and hate!” A post shared by Dak Prescott (@_4dak) on Jun 3, 2020 at 8:34am PDTPrescott also had something to say to the “men and women that police our streets.””I have the utmost respect for those of you with a passion for protecting and serving your communities. When you chose to wear the badge of a police officer, you pledged to PROTECT life and property through the enforcement of our laws and regulations,” he said. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is pledging $1 million to improve police training and address systemic racism through education and advocacy in the United States following the death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, prompting demonstrations and riots across the United States and beyond.