On August 11, the Obama administration announced that it would shift $81 million away from research, antipoverty, and health care programs to pay for the development of a Zika vaccine. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell said in a letter to Congress that absent the diverted funds, the departments working on measures to combat the virus would run out of funding by the end of the month. The Zika virus poses significant threats to infants and unborn babies of infected mothers. As of the date of the announcement, 7,350 cases of Zika had been reported in the United States, including 15 infants born with Zika-related birth defects.
ANCOR has joined with other national organizations calling on Congress to ensure that adequate funding is secured quickly to respond to the Zika virus. (See WICs article, "ANCOR Joins Effort to Fight Zika Virus," August 8, 2016.) In February, President Obama called on Congress to approve $1.9 billion in emergency funding to combat the virus. That request has remained in limbo as lawmakers have asked for detailed accounting of how the funds will be spent and have placed restrictions on proposed compromises. In April, the Administration shifted $589 million from Ebola funding to the Zika effort. Secretary Burwell said that that money has nearly all been spent, necessitating the new action to shift additional funds.
Source: New York Times