Dec 24, 2003 (CIDRAP News) In response to a federal judge's order this week, the Department of Defense (DoD) said it would suspend the anthrax vaccination program for military personnel.
"The Department will stop giving anthrax vaccinations until the legal situation is clarified," DoD officials said in a statement dated yesterday.
US District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered DoD to stop requiring anthrax shots for military personnel, saying the anthrax vaccine has never been specifically approved or labeled for use against inhalational anthrax. He issued the preliminary injunction in a suit filed by several military members and civilian employees of military contractors.
The Pentagon said it was reviewing Sullivan's ruling. "The Defense Department's anthrax vaccination program is an important force protection measure," the statement said. "Research conducted by the most prominent medical experts has determined that the anthrax vaccine is safe and effective for all forms of anthrax exposure."
Sullivan ordered DoD to file responses to his ruling by Jan 30, 2004.