One of the classes Iím taking this semester is Journalism. This was the first news story I wrote for class. In keeping with my standard paranoia I selected the fervor over the Anthrax vaccine the U.S. military is forcing on its members. For more info on this topic or others related to the Anthrax vaccine, Agent Orange, or Gulf War Syndrom go to http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ If you arenít familiar with the above three, you owe it to yourself to find out.
Dissention in the ranks grows
Mar. 21, 2000
††††††††††† The U.S. military is facing resistance to the use of a controversial new anthrax vaccine. Though there have been isolated cases of enlisted personnel refusing the vaccine over the last three years, for the first time the revolt against the vaccine is derailing the vaccination program.
†††††††††††† At least a dozen members of the 122nd Fighter Wing, based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, have refused the anthrax vaccination. The 122nd is scheduled is due to be deployed in the Middle East in April and the vaccination is required for overseas duty.
††††††††††† The vaccine, manufactured by BioPort, a biotech firm in Michigan, had been in limited use until start of a comprehensive inoculation program in 1999. The only widespread use of the vaccine had been during the Gulf War. The Defense Department plans to have completed the program, which calls for inoculation of all military personnel and DoD employees in high-risk areas, by 2005.
††††††††††† Opponents of the mandatory vaccination program are raising concerns about the safety of this experimental treatment. SV40, a simian virus linked to unusual cancers, has been detected in some samples of the vaccine. No studies have been done to determine if the vaccine causes cancer, induces genetic mutation, impairs fertility, or causes fetal harm.
††††††††††† According the Defense Department, the vaccine is a safe, effective defense against a dangerous biological weapon; anthrax has a fatality rate of 99%.
††††††††††† These assurances havenít convinced everyone. The vaccine is suspected by some as having played a part in causing Gulf War Syndrome, a neurological disease affecting many Gulf War veterans and their families. No significant progress has been made towards a treatment for the syndrome in eights years; the Department of Defense has refused access to records some believe could help the research.
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