Dr Meryl Nass: Vaccine safety
Why have I become part of the Military and Biodefense Vaccine Project?
The anthrax vaccine was only the first vaccine around which a mass vaccination program was designed to counteract bioterrorism. Smallpox vaccine was the second. Many additional vaccines are in the development pipeline for the same purpose. Some vaccines, such as the plague vaccine, were once used as protection for bioterrorism as late as 1991, but were found to be ineffective for this purpose, and are no longer manufactured.
Because these vaccines are first used for soldiers, there has been remarkably little civilian interest in the issues of their safety and effectiveness.
Because such vaccines are designed specifically for bioterrorism, they receive “fast-track” designation by FDA. So far, that has meant their approval and licensing (in the case of anthrax and smallpox vaccines) with data ordinarily considered inadequate for standard drugs and vaccines. Smallpox, also given to civilians, received more scrutiny than anthrax vaccine. The smallpox civilian program, intended to vaccinate 10 million Americans, imploded after only 39,000 were vaccinated because of safety problems.
The goal of the Military and Biodefense Vaccine Project (MBVP) is to make partners of those with many years’ experience studying and publicizing the problems of childhood vaccines, and those with experience in the problems of newer military and biodefense vaccines, to best serve the public with reliable, scientific, and current information on these vaccines.
We believe in freedom of choice in the use of products that might have permanent effects on our health. We are also advocates for effective, as well as safe, prophylactic medical products. Lastly, we support the concept of Informed Consent; without being fully informed, there is no true consent.
Several of us have been active in the federal lawsuit that led to the end of the US military’s mandatory anthrax vaccine program in 2004, which was replaced with a voluntary program. Currently, the vast majority of both US and British soldiers decline anthrax vaccine when offered.
I am proud to be associated with the work of this organization and with our now expanded goal: sharing our knowledge for all biodefense and military vaccines. I hope the information is helpful and that you will join us in our efforts. Welcome!