Archives | (July 2001) Printer FriendlyThe Anthrax Vaccine: Making Our Soldiers Guinea Pigs Conclusion (cont.)
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What has been learned, though, is that early, aggressive treatment with antibiotics can prevent the disease from being fatal. Moreover, even common, relatively inexpensive antibiotics such as ampicillin can be effective for many people. In other instances powerful members of the fluoroquinilone family of antibiotics are needed, but the important fact is that they, too, are effective.
In addition, the circumstances under which troops are likely to encounter anthrax are quite different from those that existed during the domestic attacks.
First of all, the domestic incidents were unexpected, whereas on the battlefield, military personnel will be prepared for the prospect of a chemical or biological attack.
Secondly, those exposed to anthrax from the letter attacks were unprotected. Troops on the battlefield will wear chemical protective suits that should largely prevent contamination.
Third, doctors at military aid stations will be looking for signs of chemical or biological agents. They will therefore be ready to immediately administer the proper treatment.
Finally, the domestic anthrax victims were largely older individuals (and one seven-month old infant) who were less likely to have vigorous immune systems. In contrast, most military personnel are relatively young and in prime physical condition, making them better able to resist the disease and respond to treatment.
Taken together, these factors raise a serious question as to whether the risks associated with the anthrax disease might not be greater than the risks our soldiers will face on the battlefield.
But it is not just our fighting men and women who may be placed at risk.
The Department of Defense has established a series of priorities regarding who will get the vaccine first, beginning with elite service members such as pilots, Special Forces, Navy Seals and Army Rangers, and then our top Infantry units – in other words, the “teeth” of our military establishment. If they are adversely effected by the vaccine – even for a short time – then the entire nation is left defenseless because those we rely on to protect America will be unable to do so! It is difficult to believe that the very officials who are responsible for America’s security would endanger it merely to satisfy some bureaucratic whim, but that seems to be exactly what is happening!
Our brave young men and women are willing to place their lives in jeopardy in the defense of freedom. It is unforgivable that officials of their own government would knowingly add to the risks they face and in so doing jeopardize the safety of every American citizen as well! It is time that they put the national interest ahead of their bureaucratic agenda.