Senator Alexander Votes to Help Protect Americans from Zika Outbreak, Spur Vaccines and Tests

Amendment would support mosquito abatement, vaccine research, and other health services

Posted on May 17, 2016

WASHINGTON, May 17 – The chairman of the Senate’s health committee today voted for legislation to help protect Americans from the Zika outbreak with mosquito abatement, vaccine research and health services.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said, “Today’s vote will help protect mothers and children from the tragic effects of the Zika virus outbreak, by supporting response efforts, like mosquito abatement – as well as research for vaccines and diagnostic tests.”

He added: “The Zika outbreak highlights the importance of being prepared for outbreaks and disease threats, and the critical importance of medical research – ensuring top notch institutions like the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority are able to search for a vaccine and improved diagnostics and the Food and Drug Administration is able to review those discoveries in a timely way – all goals of the bipartisan legislation the Senate health committee has passed as a Senate companion to 21st Century Cures.”

The bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) was adopted as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which is currently on the Senate floor for consideration. The bipartisan amendment provides $1.1 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of State, and the United States Agency for International Development to combat the Zika virus. These dollars will support Zika response efforts, medical research for vaccines and diagnostic tests, and health and social services in afflicted areas.

On February 24, Alexander chaired a Senate health committee hearing to better understand the virus and to assess both the challenges in preventing its spread and the progress made in developing vaccines and diagnostic tests. Read about that hearing here. Bipartisan legislation to spur treatments and cures for the Zika virus passed the Senate health committee on March 9 and the full Senate on March 17. President Obama signed the Senate health committee-passed legislation into law on April 19.

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For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.

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