1. Wide shot of Secretary Tommy Thompson testifying before Senate Appropriations subcommittee
2. Cutaway of photographers
3. Cutaway of Senate committee
4. SOUNDBITE: (English) Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson
"People, Americans should not be scared into believing they need to buy gas masks. And people should not be frightened into hoarding medicine and food. There is nothing that we know of that would warrant such actions. People should be vigilante, should be aware and alert. A biological attack is certainly possible, but as President Bush has said, we must not be intimidated. We must get back to living our lives."
New York, September 2001
5. Various shots of people trying on and buying gas masks
Washington, DC - October 3, 2001
6. SOUNDBITE: (English) Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson
"And evidenced by what we did on September 11th, I'm absolutely assured that we could respond to any contingency and control it."
The United States health secretary insisted to skeptical senators on Wednesday that federal doctors could quickly contain any bio terrorist attack.
Tommy Thompson also urged Americans not to be panicked by all the preparations for such a possibility.
Concern over a chemical or biological attack has been heightened in the U-S since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Across the country, frightened Americans are buying gas masks, water purifiers, antibiotics and survival manuals in record numbers.
But even as the health secretary cautioned against stockpiling such supplies, he told Americans to be on the lookout for any mysterious symptoms and see a doctor promptly if they have any.
Despite comments from at least one Senator who told Thompson he didn't believe the U-S government is adequately prepared, the Secretary insisted his agency could quickly dispatch the proper medical authorities to contain and treat any outbreak from an attack.
Thompson acknowledged the health system does have gaps, and said he is seeking 800 (m) million more dollars US this year to fill those gaps.
Most of the money would go to state and local health departments, to train local physicians and laboratories in recognising symptoms of anthrax, smallpox and other worrisome agents.
Thompson said vaccines against such agents aren't available to civilians today, but are being stockpiled so that if there ever were an attack, people exposed could be vaccinated quickly.