There is an increasing pool of cases of active duty military whose nervous systems have responded negatively to the anthrax vaccines ordered by the Department of Defense. When I wrote ‘A Soldier’s Story‘ at the end of October, the person with whom I conversed told me that he had a deal with his sergeant that he and those who worked for him would not take the vaccine. He reported that one soldier from his section had responded very negatively to the vaccine and had had his nervous system “messed up” by the vaccine.
John Files of the New York Times reports that the Pentagon is now asking for authority to start readministering the vaccine. Files writes that Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz is leading the charge, citing a classified intelligence assessment:
“There is a significant potential for a military emergency involving a heightened risk to United States military forces of attack with anthrax,” Mr. Wolfowitz wrote. He cited a classified intelligence assessment from last month to support his concern, adding that it was the basis for continuing to vaccinate troops serving in South Korea and the Middle East.
More from the report:
Anthrax vaccinations for armed forces personnel were suspended in October, when a federal judge ordered the military to stop requiring troops to be vaccinated without their consent. The judge, Emmet G. Sullivan of Federal District Court here, found that in approving the vaccine, the F.D.A. had not followed its procedures, which require it to seek public comment on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines before approving them.
In response to the ruling, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ordered a “pause” in anthrax vaccinations. At the time, Mr. Rumsfeld wrote in a memorandum that the department “remains convinced” that the vaccination program “complies with all legal requirements and that anthrax vaccine is safe and effective.”
Representative Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican who is chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, sent letters Thursday to Mr. Thompson and to Porter J. Goss, the director of central intelligence. Mr. Shays asked Mr. Goss to allow members of his subcommittee to review the intelligence report cited by Mr. Wolfowitz.
All I know is that Rumsfeld’s comment that the “anthrax vaccine is safe and effective” is easily falsified by the increasing number of victims of this vaccine. Some other reporting on this vaccine is available here, here, here, and here.
I think there is a problem with this vaccine, but I’m not an expert on such things.
However, what is clear is that the bonds of trust between those in the military and those commanding them and making decisions has become dangerously and irresponsibly frayed.
Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld have done little to rebuild trust with their troops, and from my perspective, Wolfowitz’s anthrax vaccine holiday gift to his soldiers is just going to make things worse.
— Steve Clemons