- "Is protecting postal workers who have been exposed
to anthrax spores the priority of the CDC [Centers for Disease Control],
or is experimenting with the health and safety of workers as guinea pigs
the real reason for the distribution of the [DoD anthrax] vaccine? My members
will not countenance another Tuskegee, warned William Smith, president
of New York Metro Area Postal Union this week in a letter to Tommy Thompson,
secretary of Health and Human Services.
- The Tuskegee syphilis study ran in Macon County, Ga.,
from 1932 until 1972. Federal researchers prevented 399 black men who suffered
from syphilis from receiving any treatment for the deadly disease, even
after penicillin was shown to cure syphilis.
- New York City postal union officials Thursday advised
mail workers against taking the Department of Defense's vaccine for anthrax
offered by Thompson, rather insisting the city's main processing center
be fumigated against the deadly anthrax spores. Workers have already been
on a regime of the Cipro antibiotic and have no symptoms.
- Thompson had offered the postal workers post-exposure
doses of the controversial DoD anthrax vaccine as an extra measure of caution.
Each member was given an informed-consent form to read and execute before
acceding to the vaccinations.
- 'Take Advantage of the Opportunity'
- In the Thompson letter, Smith said he was "particularly
disturbed by the statement made by a participant at the December 15, 2001
anthrax vaccine meeting at the CDC that it,s also our duty to take advantage
of the opportunity, [with the postal workers] to study the anthrax vaccine.,
- Noting that the DoD vaccine has never been scientifically
shown to be effective as a post-exposure remedy, Smith asked Thompson:
"Is this an experimental post-exposure use of the vaccine, or is it
pre-exposure prophylaxis for postal workers who must continue to work in
contaminated buildings? The United States Postal Service,s inability to
thoroughly clean the Morgan facility raises serious questions about residual
anthrax contamination in Morgan and other postal facilities.
- The CDC, which falls under Thompson,s department, has
admitted that post-exposure use "is not currently an FDA-approved
use of the vaccine, however, the vaccine may provide additional protection
by inducing an immune response to the anthrax organism."
- "As an investigational new drug, the vaccine would
need to be administered with the full informed consent of the individual
as to possible risks. Individuals would also be asked to take part in a
follow-up study measuring the effect of the vaccine when administered after
- Therein the rub: the nature and completeness of the informed
- A copy of the informed-consent document obtained by NewsMax
- "You should not consider the vaccine to be a treatment
for anthrax. The vaccine as given in this program has not been shown to
give long-term protection against anthrax.
- "Some people have reported serious chronic illnesses
like Guillain Barre Syndrome (a muscle weakness disease), chronic joint
diseases, or had miscarriages and infertility after getting the anthrax
- "Although unconfirmed, a recent preliminary study
suggests that the vaccine may be linked with an increase in the number
of birth defects when given during pregnancy. At this time no one knows
for sure whether this vaccine can cause fetal harm.
- But Smith, joined Thursday by the National Vaccine Information
Center (NVIC), complained that CDC,s anthrax vaccine consent form did not
fully describe the serious adverse event reports associated with the anthrax
- Complications of the Vaccination
- They pointed to Army Surgeon General Ronald Blanck, who
testified about possible conditions that followed vaccination, including
Guillain-Barre syndrome, multiple sclerosis, angioedema, aseptic meningitis,
severe injection site inflammation, bipolar psychiatric disorder, diabetes
mellitus and systemic lupus erythematosus.
- Furthermore, according to Smith, the informed consent
being offered the postal workers is silent about the complaints levied
by military service members who have taken the injections: anaphylactic
shock, gastroparesis, primary testicular failure, chronic fatigue syndrome,
fibromyalgia, Steven Johnson,s syndrome, deep vein thrombosis, and other
- Said Smith: "New York Metro insists the informed
consent, offered to postal workers must be truly informed. During your
conference call announcement on December 18, Dr. Kathryn Zoon, director
of the FDA Center for Biologic Evaluation and Research, cited data from
the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and characterized the
reactions of military personnel from the anthrax vaccine as minor and temporary.,
- "This statement is deliberately misleading, and
cannot suffice as informed consent about the real and serious adverse reactions
associated with this vaccine. To provide inadequate risk/benefit data to
prospective recipients is medical malpractice.
- "I therefore request that you make all VAERS reports
filed on the anthrax vaccine immediately available on the CDC and FDA websites
so that the physicians and patients, on whom you have placed the burden
of recommending or using this vaccine, are truly informed.
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