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No weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq, but forced anthrax vaccinations are back anyway

Meryl Nass, M.D.
January 20, 2007

The bad news is that the Pentagon has begun giving mandatory anthrax
vaccinations to soldiers, despite the lack of a formal announcement.

In late October 2006, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health
Affairs, William Winkenwerder, M.D. (http://www.ha.osd.mil/ha/

winkenwerder-bio.cfm), announced that the mandatory anthrax vaccine
program was to be reinstated in about two months, after new policies
were issued. Although the policies are still pending, perhaps due to
the fact that a new Secretary of Defense began his tenure after the
announcement was made, the military has begun widespread
vaccinations, often during boot camp. Previously, vaccinations were
generally given to soldiers right before deploying, when they were
more seasoned.

One may surmise that vaccinating soldiers with a controversial and
dangerous vaccine as soon as they begin active duty was carefully
calculated: the new recruits won’t have the opportunity to learn
about all the problems associated with this vaccine in advance of
their inoculations. By making no formal announcement of the
resumption of vaccinations, the Defense Department forestalled public
discussion of the program in the media, which would likely lead to
undesirable publicity, when the military is already enmeshed in a
very unpopular war and trying hard to “look good.”

Here are the facts about the vaccine:

1. FDA only approved the vaccine manufacturing plant in January 2002
under pressure from the administration, as a result of 9/11. The
renovated plant was still not able to produce sterile vaccine! The
compromise led to all vaccine batches being trucked to Washington
State, to be bottled by another company with cleaner procedures.

2. The recipe and method for making vaccine did not change since
1998, according to the manufacturer’s testimony to the Institute of
Medicine in 2001. Thus there is no reason to think this version of
the vaccine is any better than the old version.

3. Unfortunately, I am still contacted several times a week by
soldiers who received post-renovation anthrax vaccine, but became
sick with the same illnesses that were caused by older vaccine lots.
Although some lots of vaccine may be worse than others, please do not
assume that any lots are completely safe. The vaccine component(s)
causing the illnesses remains unknown.

4. Many studies of Gulf War veterans suggest anthrax vaccine caused
or contributed to chronic illness in those veterans. The only
studies that claim the vaccine is safe were performed by the Defense
Department. Most of those studies were supervised by the same
individual, Colonel John Grabenstein, who was the director of the
military’s vaccine program. Colonel Grabenstein claimed that NO
chronic illnesses resulted from anthrax vaccine. Yet on the anthrax
vaccine package insert, FDA explains why those military studies had
serious problems and cannot be relied upon.

5. Anthrax vaccine reactions are unfortunately very common. Most
soldiers who have been in the military for long know several people
who became ill and/or disabled shortly after receiving anthrax
inoculations. I estimate that 10% – 30% of all soldiers who have
been vaccinated have developed some medical problem as a result.
Some are minor, some severe. Many airmen have lost the ability to
continue flying (DNIF).

6. The most common side effects are new pains in muscles and
joints. Short-term memory loss and periods of confusion are also
common. Fatigue and problems sleeping usually accompany these
symptoms. Some people develop inflammatory bowel disease, with
severe, sometimes bloody diarrhea. Some develop other autoimmune
disorders, like lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, and reactive
arthritis. Rashes are common. There have been many cases of low
testosterone and rare hypogonadism. Thyroid disorders appear commonly.

You can download vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS)
reports since 1998 from the FDA website to see what kinds of medical
problems were experienced following anthrax inoculations, according
to the nearly 5,000 soldiers who have reported them to FDA.

You can read about a study of the anthrax vaccine VAERS reports by
independent researchers Mark and David Geier at:

7. Sometimes other vaccinations bring on recurrent symptoms.
Sometimes odors begin to trigger symptoms. Some people improve over
time; some stay the same; some worsen. A few have died. There is a
suspicion that thyroid cancer may be caused by the vaccine, and
breast or cervical cancers in females. Military statistics from the
Defense Medical Surveillance System Database indicate many more
hospitalizations for those problems after anthrax vaccination,
compared to before vaccination. See the military’s own statistics
at: http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10310&page=246

What can soldiers do when faced with the anthrax vaccine? It seems
we are in a legal gray area now. Personally, I would ask to be given
informed consent. I would ask for a copy of the vaccine label to
review, which can be found at: www.fda.gov/CBER/label/

No one has been court-martialed for refusal recently, and ASD
Winkenwerder did not say what punishments might be used against
vaccine refusers last October, when he announced the program was to
be restarted.

You are welcome to contact the Military Biodefense Vaccine Project
(http://www.military-biodefensevaccines.org/) and contact@military-
biodefensevaccines.org for a discussion of your personal situation
with a knowledgeable volunteer.

Meryl Nass, M.D.