- TORONTO (CP) -- Defence Minister Art Eggleton acknowledged Tuesday that
outdated anthrax vaccines were given to Canadian troops in the Persian
Gulf, but said they were safe.
- "Regardless of what dates the manufacturer
may say these serums are good for, we do our own testing," Eggleton
said in Ottawa.
- But Eggleton's claim was disputed by
a Winnipeg toxicologist.
- Dr. Eva Pip told CTV News that no one
can gauge the safety of the vaccine because it is bacteria and can break
down over time.
- An inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration on the only plant that makes the vaccine to ward off biological
agents said the company had relabelled drugs that expired in 1993 with
- CTV showed vaccination documents that
showed Canadian troops had been given the relabelled drugs.
- The FDA inspection also said vaccines
more than three years old may not be stable or potent.
- "According to the FDA document because
of the numerous problems that were present actually the full extent of
the danger isn't known," Pip told CTV.
- The inspection done just before troops
headed to the Gulf in 1998 also found problems with cleaning equipment,
mould was found in some samples and some vials were thrown out because
they weren't properly sealed.
- CTV reported last week that a Canadian
Forces memo sent out last month said the military didn't complete the vaccinations
for the troops because there wasn't enough drugs available and states there
was a small risk of side effects.
- Sgt. Mike Kipling, a 27-year Forces veteran,
is at the centre of the controversy after refusing the vaccination order
that was given to all Canadian troops in the Gulf.
- The Winnipeg-based air force flight engineer
was worried the vaccine may be linked to the Gulf War syndrome and is now
facing a court martial.
- The syndrome is a term used to describe
the thousands of Gulf War veterans from the United States, Britain and
Canada who came down with unexplainable illnesses after returning from