The Truth Will Set You Free .....
There is currently no known threat of a bioterrorism attack, let alone any sort of tangible threat of widespread anthrax poisoning. And yet a group of advisers to the federal government's National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB) are now suggesting that healthy children be injected with an untested anthrax vaccine just to see if it offers any sort of protection from anthrax poisoning.
This outlandish proposal marks a new low in the federal government's public display of respect for human life, and is one that many are decrying as completely unethical and just plain dangerous. And yet the Obama administration's NBSB is very seriously considering approving it, and will vote on it this upcoming Friday.
Daniel B. Fagbuyiof from the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC, recently tried to defend the proposal to theWashington Post(WP) by generating fear about a potential future biological attack. He alleges that if children do not get the vaccine now for research purposes, they will end up getting an untested version of it later.
But not everyone is buying into the fear-mongering, including Joel Frader, a pediatrician and bioethicist from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. He and others suggest that any proposal to use healthy children as vaccine guinea pigs is absurd, and that "it would be difficult to justify testing [the vaccine] on kids simply on the hypothetical possibility that there might be an attack."
The other issue is that the same vaccine, which has already been tested on adults and administered to military servicemen, leaves much to be desired in the effectiveness department. It is also linked to causing serious health conditions such as hearing loss, neurological problems, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
"Unlike measles, mumps and other diseases, the chance that children will be exposed to anthrax is theoretical, making the risk-benefit calculus of testing a vaccine on them much more questionable," wrote Rob Stein from WP concerning the vaccine.
"[T]here are serious questions about the vaccine's effectiveness in adults as well as concerns about sometimes serious complications among those vaccinated in the military. A variety of complications have been reported, including nervous system and autoimmune disorders."