Friday, January 12, 2007

Anthrax Question (Still) Presented

So I'm at medical getting my pre-deployment physical. The lady at the clinic desk asks me if I consent to getting the anthrax vaccine. I hesitate, mostly startled that they're still asking the question. Since she saw me hesitate, the lady treated me to the party line on how the FDA has declared the vaccine safe, effective, and all that. I really didn't want to talk about it. I haven't decided yet. Any thoughts?


CAAFlog said...

Instead of life imitating art, this is a case of life imitating law.

Guert Gansevoort said...

This is strange because the DoD announced that the program was again mandatory three months ago. But that may again be on hold because the Doe plantiff's have moved for an injunction, the third in the case, this time on the science supporting FDA's second sham Final Order. It will be interesting to see if Judge Sullivan issues a third opinion declaring the program to be unlawful. If he does, and you have been court-martialed for refusing to receive AVA, or whatever name they are calling the vaccine today to mislead sailors into believing they have changed the drug itself, rest assured that C.A.A.F. will inform you that the District Court did not say what it said as it affirms your conviction.

Until the DoD tells you that it is mandatory, the issue ultimately comes down to personal choice. I know that there are still wild anthrax outbreaks in North Asia, particularly in Mongolia. If you do not plan on herding livestock while in Afghanistan, then the question becomes whether or not the Taliban has acquired a weaponized form of anthtrax (the human study occured only on the natural form of the illness and the vaccine has not been tested on weaponized forms of anthrax that are certainly in Russian and American inventories), a delivery system that will not just destroy the bacteria (not any easy task and probably why it has never been used on the battlefield despite the fact that Western and Japanese powers have been tinkering with the stuff for seventy years), appropriate weather conditions, and whether or not they are targeting your base.

The vaccine is probably not going to hurt you. I took the entire series and have had no long term side effects. But it is probably not going to help you either. The real concern is not the vaccine, but rather the DoD's willingness to lie to Sailors and Marines about the efficacy of this vaccine. A review of minutes from DoD meetings in 1997-98 indicates they knew all along there was no medical proof that it worked for its intended use. Since that time, the government has conducted some arguably questionable science, the subject of the new challenge, that suggests that the vaccine may in fact be safe and effective. Oh, and the Army says it is safe.

CAAFlog said...

Ockham's razor might suggest a different answer to the question of why Navy medicine asked the Columbus Clipper whether he consented to an anthrax vaccine three months after DOD said servicemembers have no choice.

Commodore Gansevoort says, "The vaccine is probably not going to hurt you. I took the entire series and have had no long term side effects." May I remind the good Commodore once again that he is dead and has been dead for almost 140 years. That might explain the absence of side effects.

No Man said...

May I also suggest Ocam's Razor for why Navy medicine is still asking if you want the vaccine: the bureauacracy between the top Navy medicine and HMSN Schmuckately has not filtered down the newly worded requirement.

egn said...

The explanation given to me is that although DoD has made it mandatory, the Navy has not yet issued its own directive mandating the vaccine. So there is a lag time, making it still voluntary for the time being. I recently took the first 3 shots in the series and haven't started feeling any ill effects yet. Other than that it hurts like hell.