U.S. Troops To Get
Anthrax Vaccinations!
GWI Partially Came From Military Vaccinations!
Is This The End Of The U.S. Military?
WASHINGTON (AP) -- With an increased possibility of germ warfare, Defense Secretary William Cohen has decided America's 1.5 million men and women in uniform should be inoculated against anthrax.
The biological agent can be fatal even in microscopic amounts.
The inoculations, which involve six shots taken over 18 months, will cost about $120 million, senior Pentagon officials said Monday speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Pentagon planned to make the announcement later in the day.
The concern is for protecting U.S. forces amid a mounting threat of biological or chemical warfare against troops at home or overseas.
The move comes amid the confrontation with Iraq's Saddam Hussein and the United Nations' efforts to uncover his weapons of mass destruction.
Terrorist bombings aimed at U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, controversy over a possible Persian Gulf War syndrome and fears that enemies such as Iraq and North Korea might use biological weapons prompted the Pentagon initiative, officials said.
While inoculations for people in uniform are mandatory, there will be exemptions for some, such as pregnant women, for whom the anthrax inoculation could be dangerous.
The decision had been made informally last year but was delayed over concerns about whether a proper procedure could be set up to monitor those who are inoculated, said one official.
The inoculation program has been controversial given concerns about the mysteries of the Persian Gulf War Syndrome and whether inoculations given during the war contributed to some veterans' ailments.
About 150,000 of the more than 500,000 U.S. troops in the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991 were given anthrax vaccinations.
No link has been established with Gulf War illnesses. The vaccine is licensed by the Food and Drug Administration and has been in use since 1970.
Anthrax, an infectious disease that normally afflicts animals, especially cattle and sheep, is considered the most lethal of biological agents by the U.S. government.
Anthrax spores are stable and remain viable in water and soil for years. Of greater importance to the Pentagon, anthrax can easily be put into a dry powder form that can be stored as a weapon for long periods. Inhaling even microscopic amounts can be fatal. The inoculation provides effective protection.
Iraq, Russia and as many as 10 other countries are believed to have the capability to use anthrax in weapons.
The Associated Press
Copyright © 1997

Email Homepage