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Caution flag raised on mandatory anthrax vaccines [Nov. 1, 2007]

2001 Anthrax Vaccine Update

Anthrax Vaccine Update/Dr. Meryl Nass
Sun, 28 Jan 2001 22:19:33 -08

Anthrax Vaccine Update:

From Meryl Nass, MD...

Sorry, been out of town the past two weeks and missed replying to emails and calls. Several court martials are continuing in California, in addition to Dr. Buck's travails in Biloxie.

The past three days were spent at the Persian Gulf Veterans Coordinating Board conference on Gulf War Illness (GWI). This meeting was sponsored by the cttee comprised of the heads of DOD, DVA and DHHS. In my view, this committee has in the past pursued projects designed to obscure, rather than illuminate, the causes and treatments of GWI. The executive director, Dr. Feussner, actually tried to shout me down at a CDC conference on GWI 2 years ago, in my view because a deliberate decision had been made to omit anthrax vaccine and depleted uranium from consideration as potential causes.

This 2001 conference surprised me. Although the poorly done studies were there: attempts to prove that Gulf vets do not have higher death, hospitalization, birth defect or gynecological rates of disease, there were a number of better studies which showed that vets are sick. Furthermore, the studies agreed with each other about the actual abnormalities. There was even some discussion of appropriate threatments for the illnesses, in addition to the favorite, cognitive behavioral therapy. Unfortunately, the doxycycline study has released no results, though half the vets have finished their year of antibiotics. All this was extremely promising, considering the past.

My "take" on the conference was that the people who have worked hard for years to cover up GWI and anthrax-related illness (in some cases the very same people) are now suspended in mid-air, waiting for signals from the new administration to tell them whether to continue the same coverup, or if change is coming.

The many discussions of Force Health Protection made no mention of vaccines as one of the major methods of protection. The JVAP was not mentioned. The erosion in trust of servicemembers for their leadership was talked about, albeit briefly, by a former ASD (HA), and anthrax vaccine was mentioned as a cause of this mistrust. He said this mistrust could endanger the mission. That may be something the politicians will listen to.

Donald Rumsfeld, the new SecDef, was CEO of Searle pharmaceuticals for 8 years, so he is likely to be sensitive to the manufacturing problems at Bioport.

We have an opportunity for a fresh start now. The administration has not announced a position on vaccines. This is another critical time for everyone who receives this email to write or fax (not email, for emails are usually ignored) a letter and send to your Senators and Representatives. Follow up with a phone call. Usually a few paragraphs are plenty. If you or a close friend/relative is sick from the vaccine, let them know. Ask for help; ask for an appointment to discuss the problem. Contact the new SecDef. It is time to create a flurry of letters now!

This is a critical time, re whether the vaccine program will continue as before or fade away, and critical as well in terms of admitting to the reactions and aiding the sufferers. It may be critical for those with GWI as well. Use of anthrax vaccine and DU will entail major costs, if continued.

Please do not contact Congressman Burton now, as the office is overwhelmed with requests for help. DO especially contact the armed services committee members. Have your colleagues do so as well.

There are now over 1677 VAERS reports, many serious. This is the highest rate of VAERS reporting, per dose or per recipient, for any US vaccine. I and others are working very hard to bring information on anthrax vaccine to the GWI researchers, the media, the Institute of Medicine, and the Congress. We will only succeed with your hard work also.

Many many thanks. Please circulate widely.

Meryl Nass, MD

Our Anthrax information web site:
To visit Dr. Meryl Nass's web site, go to:
Also visit: Anthrax Vaccine Network proposal

Sheri Nakken, R.N., MA
Vaccination Information & Choice Network, Nevada City CA & UK
530-478-1242 Voicemail
     "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil  is that good men (&
women) do nothing"...Edmund Burke

Caution flag raised on mandatory anthrax vaccines
Former Air Force navigator says neurological reaction has left him disabled
[see JS ONLINE: NEWS: for email link]
Posted: Oct. 28, 2007

With his trim runner's build, tight flattop and thin, muscular arms, Stephen DeGuire does not seem like a man who is unable to empty the dishwasher, mow the lawn or throw baseballs to his young sons.

He forgets the names of neighbors he has known for years and grimaces as he pushes himself into a standing position. His torso tilts forward as he walks stiffly through his Mequon home. A wooden cane hangs on a chair in the living room. It is one of a collection that DeGuire keeps around. He frequently forgets where he puts them.

DeGuire is one of possibly thousands of veterans suffering from what some military and civilian doctors believe is a neurological reaction to the anthrax vaccine. The vaccine is controversial, yet now mandatory for many American troops and civilian contractors. About 1.6 million people have received the vaccine since 1998.

Nearly four years ago, DeGuire was stationed in Kuwait as a navigator for the U.S Air Force. Today, the 43-year-old struggles with migraines, memory problems, chronic pain and fatigue as his body slips further from his control.

DeGuire's Air Force physical evaluation in 2006 listed his ailments and noted that they began to occur after he received the vaccine.

While DeGuire's main concern is to keep his body from further deteriorating, he worries about his family's financial future. He said he makes one-third of what he made as a civilian and will likely never work full-time again because of his condition.

Disability linked to reaction from the anthrax vaccine is deemed non-combat-related, meaning veterans like DeGuire are taxed on their disability payments. The anthrax vaccine is also not part of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which allows people who suffered vaccine reactions to collect money for their disability. DeGuire worries about soldiers who will be required to receive the anthrax vaccine in the future. He says the program was "well-intentioned," but that officials in the government did not stop the vaccine when problems arose.

"They've had enough data to know there is something wrong with the vaccine," DeGuire said.

The Department of Defense made the anthrax vaccine mandatory in 1998 out of concern that enemies would use anthrax as biological warfare. If inhaled, the substance is usually fatal. Mandatory vaccines were halted in October 2004, when a judge questioned the Food and Drug Administration's approval procedures. In December 2005, the FDA gave final approval for the vaccine, and the Department of Defense made it mandatory again for soldiers and contractors serving in the Middle East, Central Asia and parts of Korea.

The Department of Defense maintains that the vaccine is "safe and effective." In a media conference call last fall, assistant defense secretary William Winkenwerder said that the vaccine had not led to increased deaths or hospitalizations.

Critics of the vaccine disagree. Physician Meryl Nass said her patients usually have 10 or 15 different diagnosis that she attributes to the anthrax vaccine - sleep disorders, fatigue, cognitive disability and higher rates of neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis. A doctor in Maine, Nass testified about the vaccine in July before the House Veterans Affairs Health Subcommittee.

Nass also points to records collected by the Vaccine Adverse Reporting System, which catalogs vaccine complications. The system has received about 5,359 adverse event reports for anthrax vaccine. About 670 of the reports were considered "serious" and about 44 of the reports recorded deaths. In the reports, some soldiers or their families pleaded with the military to stop the vaccines.

Most vaccines are linked with side effects, ranging from simple soreness to death. But that's not much comfort to people like DeGuire, or other veterans he met while at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who also think they were affected by the anthrax vaccine.

Unlike many of those other veterans, DeGuire's case was recently accepted by the Mayo Clinic, so in early August, he lugged his three-inch-thick medical file to Rochester, Minn. While doctors are working on his physical problems, DeGuire and his family are pushing legislators to do something about veteran benefits and mandatory vaccines.

DeGuire said he has tried to no avail to have legislators introduce an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would stop mandatory anthrax vaccines until more research is done.

Congress is considering changes on the benefits issue. The Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act would give disabled veterans the same benefits as retired veterans with 20 years of service. The act is pending in the House subcommittee on disability assistance and memorial affairs. But no efforts are under way to reclassify ailments associated with the anthrax vaccine as combat related.