Critics Assert Mandatory Anthrax Vaccinations Endanger U.S. Soldiers' Health
Interview with Redmond Handy, retired colonel in Air Force Reserves conducted by Between the Lines' Melinda Tuhus
As U.S. troops once again prepare for war against Iraq, renewed concern and scrutiny are being focused on mandatory immunizations given to American soldiers. Starting with the first Persian Gulf War, hundreds of thousands of U.S. service personnel received a series of vaccination shots to protect them from anthrax. The Pentagon says the inoculation program is a "force protection measure," but critics call it a "biological loyalty test." They point out that the vaccination has never been approved for its current use of protecting troops from possible inhalation anthrax in a bio-warfare setting; as the drug is only approved for cutaneous exposure in an industrial setting.
Contrary to the information put out by the Defense Department,which asserts that the anthrax vaccination is safe, scientific studies reveal it has an extremely high rate of harmful reactions. The package insert that comes with the vaccine, produced by the company Bio-Port, lists 60 known side effects and 6 fatalities tied to the drug.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Redmond Handy, a colonel in the Air Force Reserves who retired in protest against the forced vaccination of troops. He has studied the anthrax inoculation program for the past four years and discusses its impact on human health, consequences for those who refuse to take the shots and efforts to encourage the military to adopt a voluntary participation policy.
Redmond Handy is a consultant at the National Gulf War Resource Center. Contact the Center by calling 1 (800) 882-1316, or visit the group's web site at www.ngwrc.org
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