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Eisold to Donate Surplus Flu Vaccine to D.C. Facilities

Two days after lawmakers unleashed a barrage of criticism against Attending Physician John Eisold for allegedly stockpiling flu vaccine during a nationwide shortage, the doctor’s office agreed Friday to donate a new shipment of 3,000 vaccinations to local health organizations.

The vaccine will be divided between the District of Columbia Hospital Association and the D.C. Department of Health.

In a joint statement with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) announcing the donation, Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said: “Dr. Eisold has done great work in trying to keep the Capitol Hill community healthy. This decision reflects his desire to help keep the region healthy.”

Earlier this week, both House and Senate lawmakers criticized Eisold for recommending that all Members of Congress receive flu shots because of their heavy travel schedules and contact with the public.

Several lawmakers noted the Eisold’s advice conflicts with guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends vaccinations be limited to “high risk” individuals, including the elderly, children and the chronically ill.

The Attending Physicians Office has distributed approximately 2,500 vaccinations thus far. In 2003, the office administered nearly 9,000 shots during the flu season.

According D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s (D) office, the Hill’s top doctor had agreed to donate the vaccine in a telephone conversation with the lawmaker Wednesday evening. A statement from the office said Eisold also agreed to limit the Capitol’s remaining supply of vaccine to high-risk individuals.

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