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Meanwhile, since Insight last reported on the anthrax vaccination, still more troops and civilians have fallen ill after receiving the shots, according to the FDA. 1, 1999, 425 reports of adverse events associated with the anthrax vaccine have been reported.
Critics argue the incidents are being underreported because, unless the side effects involve chills or fatigue, some doctors say they can't report the symptoms (see "A Dose of Reality," Sept. Mark Zaid, an attorney representing dozens of troops who refused to take the mandatory anthrax inoculation, says, "There are big problems.
"But this capability for our president is currently being jeopardized by the reckless mandatory vaccination of all service members against anthrax," he says.
"The threat is not imminent and the integrity of the military institution is being compromised to implement a strategic or blanket program that is doctrinally unprecedented and unsound.
Katheryn Zoon, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, wrote to Assistant Secretary of Defense Sue Bailey: "Recently it has come to the agency's attention through congressional sources that some troops may not be receiving the vaccine in accordance with the schedule found in the approved labeling.
As you know, the approved anthrax labeling states that full immunization involves six doses of the vaccine to be administered following the first dose at two and four weeks, six months, 12 months and 18 months, with yearly boosters thereafter.
Some congressmen saw this as an attack by the president on the House Government Reform subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs and International Relations, where testimony indicated the Pentagon had violated the FDA's procedures on how to administer the anthrax vaccine."The FDA didn't do its job," says Jones, a member of the House Armed Services Committee."Our men and women are too valuable and they're not going to be guinea pigs." Jones, who has asked the Pentagon's inspector general to launch a probe into the growing anthrax controversy, warns that Clinton's executive order "might encourage more men and women to get out of the military.The FDA should step up to plate and do its job." The FDA may be starting to take note, according to a September letter from the agency obtained by Insight.The letter was written the day Shays' hearing ended.