ANTHRAX: Pentagon Refutes Dangers of Vaccine
The Pentagon Wednesday issued a "detailed rebuttal" of a recent Congressional report that deemed the Anthrax vaccine unsafe, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. The 76-page document is in response to a Feb. 17 House panel report that accused the Pentagon of basing the vaccination program on inadequate scientific research and urged that the program be suspended. The Pentagon took issue with the House panel's assertion that the program is an "exaggerated response to threat of biological warfare." The Pentagon report said, "Anthrax kills and kills quickly. The enemy has it and it is easy to employ," adding, "If you breathe it, and are not vaccinated, you will die." The Pentagon also challenged the assertion that because of the shortage of research on the inhalation of anthrax by humans, the vaccine should be regarded as an "investigational drug" -- and as such, should require "the approval of troops to be administered." "Obviously, it would be unethical to conduct [anthrax inhalation tests] on humans. In circumstances of this kind, reliance on animal data is necessary and appropriate," the rebuttal said. The vaccine has come under increasing scrutiny recently as soldiers who have undergone the series of shots have complained about fevers, muscle pain and dizziness. Reserve and National Guard personnel testified before Congress recently that morale was dropping and colleagues said they would rather resign than take the vaccine. In its report, the House said, "At best, the vaccine program provides some measure of protection to most who receive it. Just how much protection is acquired, by whom, for how long ... are questions the Defense Department answers with an excuse of faith but a paucity of science" (3/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.