sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 9, 2005

outrageous news story du jour
posted by soe 10:04 am

In the last two years, 1,200 American soldiers have had to seek medical treatment as a result of anthrax and smallpox vaccinations they received from the military.

While in most instances the side effects — which included temporary headaches, fatigue, fever, nausea, and dizziness — were not serious, some of the illnesses were debilitating. These included chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, cognitive problems, multiple sclerosis, and degenerative arthritis.

According to the article in Global Security Newswire, “None of the personnel treated in fiscal 2004 ‘has suffered loss of life, limb or eyesight,’ according to a statement from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which houses the main Vaccine Healthcare Center in Washington.”

I understand we are talking about degrees. Walter Reed probably feels that compared with the shattered kids they get back daily from Afghanistan and Iraq that being diagnosed with MS or arthritis is minor. I also realize that our soldiers are placed in situations where having been vaccinated against biological agents may save lives.

But I do think this story should receive more attention than it probably will. Remember, in the wake of September 11, the government sought private citizens to volunteer to test these vaccinations. Mass-marketed drugs are recalled for fewer problems than this military study displays. And certainly no drug with a sample like this in clinical trials would be approved by the FDA.

It seems, then, that the prudent thing to do would be to cease public trials pending further study. Also halt new military innoculations pending further, in-depth study of those who have already received vaccines against the two diseases to best determine what the safest course should be in the future.

Unfortunately, according to Global Source, that seems an unlikely scenario unless there is public outcry: “The Pentagon, citing a determination that there is potential for a heightened risk of an anthrax threat to U.S. forces, announced Tuesday it would resume providing mass anthrax vaccinations to service members mainly in South Korea and across the Middle East and South Asia.”

If we claim that we want the best for our soldiers, let’s make sure that they also receive the best medical options. Chronic illness is an unacceptable way to say thank you for putting your life on the line for the rest of us.

Category: politics. There is/are 1 Comment.

First, Hello I’m Reba! I love the look of your blog…it’s so fun and refreshing.

Second, I completely agree with you that those soldiers deserve to acknowledged and treated with as much respect and care as any other. What they do, no matter when or why, is a sacrifice and they are owed a proper response in accordance for such. I’m going to be a hopeless optimist when it comes to those in uniform and send out healing thoughts and energy to those personnel that they receive the full treatment and TLC they deserve!

Comment by Reba 05.09.05 @ 2:00 pm