Shot, or Not

Posted October 25, 2005 at 6:18pm

While the Attending Physician’s office had originally hoped to be able to make this year’s flu vaccine available to anyone who works on or visits Capitol Hill, a spokesman for the office said Tuesday that limited supplies will restrict distribution.

According to the spokesman, since the office has not been able to obtain additional supplies from its distributors in recent weeks, the flu vaccine will be limited to Members, staffers, Capitol Police and people with valid Congressional ID cards. [IMGCAP(1)]

“It looks like we’re not going to get any more, and we just want to make sure we get the basic staff done,” the spokesman said. “What we have seems adequate for what we’re doing. … We’re going to do our people first and then if it looks like the demand is petering out, then we’ll open it up to additional people. We’re going week by week right now.”

Going for Doha. The business community, fresh off approval of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, on Tuesday kicked off a public push for the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round of trade negotiations.

The American Business Coalition for Doha, also known as ABC Doha, launched a new Web site, a flurry of press releases and a long list of companies and organizations that are taking part in the effort. U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman attended the group’s official launch.

ABC Doha’s members include some of the nation’s biggest companies, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Pfizer Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Intel Corp., plus such lobbying groups as the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The group’s new Web site describes ABC Doha as an “umbrella group of companies, associations and other organizations dedicated to achieving ambitious results from the current round of multilateral trade negotiations.”

Drugs and Benefits. Several Members of Congress, led by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), are scheduled to unveil the Elimination of Barriers for Katrina Victims Act on Thursday.

The measure would temporarily narrow the application of federal laws that deny public assistance to former drug-law offenders.

“Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have inflicted suffering on millions of people, and this suffering will fall the hardest on Americans denied aid because of past drug offenses,” according to a letter signed by more than 80 national and local advocacy groups.

The bill’s Congressional supporters so far include Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), William Jefferson (D-La.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas).

“Unless Congress takes immediate action, the war on drugs will become a war on hurricane victims,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports the measure.

— John McArdle, Kate Ackley and Louis Jacobson