Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Are American Children to be Used in Medical Experiments to Test Anthrax Vaccine?

The highly controversial and potentially lethal anthrax vaccine may be tested on US children if the federal government gets its way. Although adverse event reports related to the vaccine among adult test subjects have included hospitalization, disability and even death, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is exploring the possibility of testing the vaccine on children.

Nicole Lurie, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the DHHS, recently requested that the National Biodefense Science Board submit an evaluation of safety issues related to testing the anthrax vaccine on children. The DHHS frames the possible testing as an issue of biodefense preparedness. However, the possibility of pediatric testing of the vaccine both ignores the vaccine's dangers, and raises the specter of class- and/or race-based selection of medical test subjects which has haunted US health agencies for over a century.


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