WASHINGTON, May 25, 1955 (UP) -- Welfare Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby said today that about 13,350,000 children could receive free anti-polio shots under the Administration's proposed $28,000,000 program of grants to states. Her statement was read to the House Commerce Committee which began hearings today on legislation calling for federal controls on the Salk vaccine and the $28,000,000 fund to provide vaccine free to needy children.
The Administration is opposed to federal controls.
There were strong hints today the Government soon will release as safe all polio vaccine except that produced by the Cutter Laboratories -- but only under stringent new government safety standards.
This was indicated in an interim report by Surgeon General Leonard A. Scheele after two days of continuous sessions here with the nation's foremost po1io experts.
Dr. Scheele withheld until later in the week his final decision on the vaccine program's future. But he reported:
The Public Health Service (PHS) has "strong presumptive evidence," but no clinical proof, that two lots of Cutter vaccine caused paralytic polio in 156 children.
The PHS is satisfied, after exhaustive studies, that vaccine produced by the other manufacturers is safe - but it might be made safer.
Dr. Scheele's report for the first time made these guarded admissions:
That some manufacturers' short cuts in producing vaccine have disturbed some top polio scientists. The report listed several such short cuts, but offered no evidence they rendered any vaccine - including that of Cutter -- unsafe.
That safety standards imposed by the PHS when the vaccine was licensed on Apr. 2 either were not adequate or were not fully policed by the Government.