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Federal Court Bars FDA From Forcing Vaccines

In this season of "Vaccinemania" comes some common sense from an unexpected source -- the federal court system. Wednesday, a U.S. District Court judge ruled the Defense Department must immediately stop inoculating troops with anthrax vaccines, because the FDA acted improperly when it approved the experimental injections for general use.

In his decision, Judge Emmet Sullivan found the FDA violated its own rules by approving the vaccine late last year. The ban on involuntary vaccination will remain in place until the FDA reviews the anthrax vaccine properly or President Bush determines that the normal process must be waived because of emergency circumstances.

Up to now, troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have been required to be vaccinated and those who refused have been punished and sometimes court-martialed. Moreover, troops stationed in South Korea and other parts of Asia and Africa have been forced to take part in anthrax and smallpox vaccination programs, despite complaints from some service members the anthrax vaccine made them sick.

The judge's ruling was based on a suit filed in March 2003 by six service members (including one who is a breast-feeding mother) and civilians who argued the FDA never properly reviewed the vaccine's ability to protect against inhalation anthrax. The suit contended that the drug was never shown to be effective, and that some vaccinated troops experienced extreme fatigue, joint pain and temporary memory loss after being vaccinated.

Washington Post October 29, 2004

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