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| General | Anthrax Vaccine | Smallpox Vaccine | Gulf War Syndrome | Feres Doctrine | Lawsuits | News from Great Britian and Australia |

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General

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   Coming Home: Disabled Soldier Faces Battle in Seeking Benefits
by ROBERT TOMSHO and RACHEL ZIMMERMAN - Wall Street Journal - Friday June 13, 2003
Story ran Aug. 12, 2003 BLUFFTON, Ind. -- Jason Stiffler, a high-school dropout, hoped the U.S. Army could help him make something of himself. But two years after enlisting, the 20-year-old veteran of the Afghanistan war struggles just to care for the tiny garden outside his rented trailer home.On a recent afternoon, Mr. Stiffler eased himself from his crutches to weed the flowers, dragging himself on his bottom. Half an hour is usually all he can take. "I still can't feel parts of my legs," says Mr. Stiffler, a gaunt man with dark, buzz-cut hair.Mr. Stiffler was injured while manning an Army watchtower near Kandahar in April 2002: He plunged to the ground, leaving him in a coma for days and without memory of the incident. The Army says it was an accident, although it has never provided the veteran with details.He continues to suffer from partial paralysis, memory loss and episodes of post-traumatic stress disorder. He and his wife have struggled to make ends meet. After missing payments on their car, they lost it in January. Trying to save on heat, they dragged mattresses into the living room of their trailer and slept around a space heater.Since his discharge last October, Mr. Stiffler has relied on payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, to provide for his wife and toddler son. When he argued that he deserved more than the $731 a month he was receiving -- because his disabilities were more serious than doctors originally thought -- he ran up against a vast medical bureaucracy. The wait for final disposition of his disability claim and appeal took seven months, a timetable that the VA concedes would have been even longer if it wasn't prompted to act by inquiries from The Wall Street Journal for this article.Mr. Stiffler's story shows the human toll when critical benefits judgments are delayed, and the confusion veterans and their families often feel when they're forced to confront bureaucracy. It also illustrates some of the flaws in the $60.4 billion veterans agency, and how those problems could prove overwhelming as veterans of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq start to enter the VA's rolls.
   Terrorists' Most Likely Weapon Here? Bombs.
by Laura Parker - USA Today - Friday May 16, 2003
The large-scale emergency drills this week in Seattle and Chicago were designed to teach cities how to respond to two of the most horrifying terrorism scenarios: the explosion of a radioactive ''dirty bomb'' and the release of a deadly biological agent. But the drills, many law enforcement and terrorism analysts say, don't reflect the true nature of the terrorist threat to America -- and could leave people with an exaggerated view of the likelihood of such attacks and the damage they would cause.
   Fighting Words
The American Prospect - Wednesday April 30, 2003
One of the big disgraces of this administration is the way it has quietly sought to cut back health benefits for veterans even as it publicly sings the praises of our soldiers when they're in combat.
   DoD Works to Educate Health Care Workers on Vaccines
by Army Sg.t 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem - American Forces Press Service - Sunday April 06, 2003
sent to the Anthrax-No Chat Group April 6, 2003 - Excerpt: She said service members 20 years ago received "a handful" of vaccines, but now routinely take more than 50 shots during their careers. And another 30 vaccines are at various stages of the developmental pipeline and may be introduced into the immunization requirements over the next five years.
Anthrax Vaccine

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   Vical Receives Grant From NIH for Development of Anthrax Vaccine
PR Newswire - Monday June 30, 2003
SAN DIEGO, June 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Vical Incorporated (Nasdaq: VICL - News) today announced that it has been awarded a three-year, $5.7 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant will partially fund the development of Vical's non-viral DNA vaccine against anthrax, and does not change the company's net loss forecast for 2003. ..." we intend to begin human clinical testing in the second half of 2003."
   Tests on Humans for Anthrax Drug to Begin
by Stephen Manning, AP Business Writer - Associated Press - Wednesday June 25, 2003
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A biotechnology company said Wednesday it will soon start human tests of an anthrax drug that blocks the toxins released by the deadly bacteria.
   Questions Mount Over Anthrax Shot
CBS Evening News - Friday June 20, 2003
A General Accounting Office investigation last fall found that the rate of side effects from anthrax vaccine was hundreds, sometimes thousands, of times higher than what the military claimed. (CBS) Kamila Iwanowska is the latest soldier to get kicked out of the U.S. military for refusing the anthrax vaccine, CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports. "It's not about defiance and it's not about being a bad soldier, because it's not," says Iwanowska, a former Army reservist, who received a bad conduct discharge. She says it's about her belief that the anthrax vaccine could be dangerous. Since it became mandatory five years ago, hundreds of troops have been disciplined or booted out for rejecting it, and dozens of others have been court-martialed. "If I knew then what I know now, I would have refused to take the vaccine," said Jason Nietupski, a former U.S. Army captain who got seriously ill after his shot in 2000. "I developed blood clots in my legs," Nietupski says. "They found pulmonary nodules in my lungs." But even when the Army finally documented that the vaccine was to blame, Nietupski says no one reported his case to the FDA, which tracks adverse events. "There's a lot of people like me out there because doctors in the military are fearful of reporting adverse events to the Food and Drug Administration because of potentially being reprimanded for doing so," he says. In fact, a General Accounting Office investigation last fall found that the rate of side effects from anthrax vaccine was hundreds, sometimes thousands of times higher than what the military claimed. The Defense Department says it now encourages more accurate reporting of adverse events. But the latest numbers the military provided CBS News still fall short: Among 600,000 people who got anthrax shots in the past year, possible side effects are reported by the military in only a fraction of one percent: .142 percent or 852 reports per 600,000 people. The GAO investigation released last fall found a much higher rate in a survey of vaccines: 85 percent, with side effects ranging from lumps and rashes to hospitalizations. Dr. Bill Winkenwerder, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, oversees military vaccines and says he urges all problems to be reported. He says it's "just not true" that the military hasn't provided the whole story as to how many people are getting sick from anthrax vaccines. "We've been very forthcoming," Winkenwerder says. "There'd be no reason to be anything else other than that. Our personnel are our most important assets." Jason Nieptuski just wonders how many others might end up like him. "I took the vaccine because I was patriotic, because I love my country and because I wanted to serve in the military. Even though the Army ruled that the medical complications were from anthrax vaccine, I can no longer serve because of the blood clots," Nieptuski says. Late last year, government investigators advised the Defense Department to actively track each soldier who gets the anthrax vaccine to get a truer picture of the harm it may do, but the military rejected that advice. Now, some troops find themselves more worried about the shots than the biological threat they're supposed to ward off.
   Pilot Wants To Challenge Vaccine - Say Military Transferred Him to Avoid Issue
by Thomas D. Williams - Hartford Courant - Connecticut - Wednesday June 18, 2003
A U.S. Air Force pilot is attempting to force the military to begin a court martial against him in an effort to highlight the plight of other soldiers who have been disciplined for refusing to take a controversial anthrax vaccine.
   Coroner rules vaccinations contributed to reservist's death
by BY LAURI HARVEY, Times Staff Writer - The Times Online (NY TImes) - Thursday June 12, 2003
LYNWOOD -- A Minnesota coroner has determined that smallpox and anthrax vaccines contributed to the death of a Lynwood reservist this spring. U.S. Army Reserves Spc. Rachael Lacy, 22, died April 4 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., just over a month after receiving the vaccinations. Doctors discovered, after she became ill, that she had lupus, an autoimmune disorder that inhibits the body's ability to fight disease.
   Md. Pond Drained for Clues in Anthrax Probe
by By David Snyder and Marilyn W. Thompson - Washington Post - Tuesday June 10, 2003
The FBI began draining a spring-fed pond in rural Maryland yesterday, searching for additional clues to the attacker who killed five people with envelopes containing lethal anthrax bacteria in the fall of 2001. Investigators this winter found a device that some authorities believe may have been used to prepare the letters. Now they are seeking equipment and clothing that might have been used to work with the anthrax bacteria, which was so highly aerosolized that it could have sickened or killed anyone who came in contact with it. They also plan to sift through sediment at the bottom of the pond to test for any trace of the lethal pathogen.
   AVANT Achieves Milestones in Development of Injectable Anthrax and Oral Anthrax/Plague Vaccines for U.S. Department of Defense
BUSINESS WIRE - Thursday June 05, 2003
NEEDHAM, Mass. - AVANT Immunotherapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: AVAN - News) today announced it has been awarded two additional subcontracts marking further milestones in the company's efforts with DynPort Vaccine Company LLC ("DVC") to develop anthrax and plague vaccines for the U.S. Department of Defense. ...DVC is the prime systems contractor for the Defense Department's Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program (JVAP).
   BioPort purchases assets of Antex Biologics, Inc.
by Kim Brennen Root, 517/327-1543 - Business Wire/Yahoo - Tuesday June 03, 2003
BioPort Corporation of Lansing, Michigan today announced the purchase of the assets of Antex Biologics, Inc., of Gaithersburg, Maryland. "This acquisition fortifies BioPort's long-term strategic plan by providing an exciting new product pipeline," said Bob Kramer, president of BioPort. "Antex brings us both innovative products and talented, experienced scientific personnel."
   AMERICAN MORNING - Interview with Maj. Thomas Rempfer
by HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: - CNN Online - Thursday May 29, 2003
Is the anthrax vaccine safe? Some members of the military say no, and they are refusing to take it.
   VaxGen to Start Human Anthrax Vaccine Trials; VaxGen Company Profile
Reuters/Yahoo - expired - Tuesday May 27, 2003
VaxGen is developing its anthrax vaccine candidate under a contract from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
   FDA Clears VaxGen's IND for Anthrax Vaccine Candidate; Clinical Development to Begin at Leading Medical Centers
PR Newswire/Yahoo - Tuesday May 27, 2003
BRISBANE, Calif., May 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- VaxGen, Inc. (Nasdaq: VXGN - News) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the Investigational New Drug (IND) application for its candidate anthrax vaccine.
   New Find Reignites Anthrax Probe
by Marilyn B. Thompson - Washington Post - Sunday May 11, 2003
The FBI has developed a new theory on a central mystery of the 2001 anthrax attacks after finding evidence in a Frederick, Md., pond that may suggest how an ingenious criminal could have packed deadly anthrax spores into envelopes without killing or sickening himself, according to sources close to the investigation.
   Soldier Guilty for Refusing Anthrax Shot
by William Kates - Washington Post - Thursday May 08, 2003
FORT DRUM, N.Y. - A military panel on Wednesday found an Army reservist guilty of disobeying an order for refusing to take the anthrax vaccine. The panel of eight officers took only 40 minutes before returning a guilty verdict against Pvt. Kamila Iwanowska.
   Scientists unlock deadly secrets of anthrax genes
MSNBC.com - Wednesday April 30, 2003
Only a few genes turn relatively harmless bacteria found in dirt into a virulent form of anthrax, researchers say. Their analysis of anthrax's genetic code, published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, has implications for making a better vaccine and for defending against new and dangerous bacteria made either by humans or nature.
   Did the FBI Make Rush to Judgement?
by Timothy Maier - Insight Magazine - Tuesday April 15, 2003
Five people dead, dozens of others injured and at least one more postal employee failing fast. Yet the FBI is no closer to solving the anthrax-letter attacks than it was when it began investigating them in October 2001.
Smallpox Vaccine

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   Smallpox shots: How safe are they?
Associated Press via CNN - Tuesday June 24, 2003
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Heart muscle inflammation should be added to the list of serious but uncommon side effects linked to smallpox shots, a U.S. military study found. The study details 18 cases of probable myopericarditis out of 230,734 military personnel vaccinated between December 2002 and mid-March. The rate is more than triple the expected rate in nonvaccinated people and translates to at least 78 cases per million people.
   Smallpox Vaccine Campaign Slows to a Crawl
New York Times - Thursday June 19, 2003
U.S. military and civilian smallpox vaccination programs are at a virtual standstill, The New York Times reports. The civilian program has come to a near halt because few people have volunteered to receive the smallpox vaccination. The military program has vaccinated nearly everyone it can. So far, 493,000 people have been given the smallpox vaccine and the number of people who suffered dangerous side effects was lower than expected. Eight people had heart attacks after being immunized and three died. But officials say it's not clear whether the deaths were linked to the vaccine or were coincidental.
   A Link Between the Smallpox Vaccine and Death From Heart Disease?
by Dr. Sherri Tennpenny - Mercola.com - Saturday May 31, 2003
A CDC press release tells us seven cases of "cardiac adverse events [three myocardial infarctions, two cases of angina, and two cases of myopericarditis] have been reported among civilian vaccinees since the beginning of the smallpox vaccination program." And another 10 cases of myopericarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle and outer lining of the heart) were reported among those in the military who received the vaccine.
   More Smallpox Vaccine Concerns
by Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson - CBS News - Tuesday May 27, 2003
WASHINGTON, D.C., - "We think that it's better for public health, we think it's better for the campaign, that all information be learned about to the degree possible before launching into phase two in a large-scale way." -- Dr. Brian Strom (CBS) There is new concern about the government's already troubled smallpox vaccination program. Few of the half-million healthcare workers eligible for innoculation under phase one of the program chose to get vaccinated. And some health experts are warning -- not so fast.
   New Fears About Smallpox Vaccine
by CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson - CBS Evening News - Wednesday May 07, 2003
"This is a toxic vaccine. We should only use it in people who need it," says Strom. "And we need a few weeks or months to just step back and say let's replan the plans to see how many people need to get the vaccine before we continue on with it."
   DoD's Smallpox Immunization Program 'A Real Success'
by Gerry J. Gilmore - American Forces Press Service/DefenseLink - Wednesday May 07, 2003
WASHINGTON, May 6, 2003 ? DoD's smallpox immunization program for service members "has been a real success," DoD's senior medical official declared. The department has vaccinated more than 400,000 service members against smallpox since the program began on Dec. 13, 2002. Only 18 troops developed serious complications from the shot, and no deaths have resulted from vaccination, Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, told Pentagon reporters here April 29.
   Report: Smallpox Program Too Slow to Evaluate
by Maggie Fox - Reuters Health - Thursday May 01, 2003
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. plans to vaccinate a front-line team of health workers in case of a smallpox attack are moving so slowly that the results cannot even be evaluated for safety, according to a government report issued on Wednesday. The report from the General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, echoes earlier findings from groups such as the independent Institute of Medicine (IOM).
   Soldier Dies after Smallpox Vaccination
by Paul Meincke - ABC7 Chicago - Wednesday April 09, 2003
April 9, 2003 A funeral was held today for a 22-year-old Army Reservist from the south suburbs. She was not a casualty of war, but died several days after receiving the smallpox vaccine.
Rachael Lacy was with an Army Reserve combat surgical unit. When it was activated in February, everyone in the unit as a standard procedure for their deployment was given a number of vaccinations. Not long after that, Rachel got sick. She never recovered.
   Hospitals balk at smallpox vaccine
by Laura Parker - USA Today - Tuesday January 21, 2003
RICHMOND, Va. When doctors at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals here announced in December that they would not participate in the Bush administration's program to vaccinate 11 million Americans against smallpox, they were harshly criticized for making a deplorable decision that could undermine the president's plan.
Gulf War Syndrome

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   Birth Defects Tied to Gulf WarSyndrome
by Christopher J. Petherick - Exclusive to American Free Press - Sunday June 29, 2003
American veterans of the 1991 war in Iraq, who reported suffering a wide array of debilitating illnesses now known as Gulf War Syndrome (GWS), have had an alarming number of children born with severe birth defects, according to several independent researchers. The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), however, have refused to acknowledge a direct relationship between those who served in or around Iraq during the war and the increase in birth defects among their offspring. ..."Sixty-seven percent of babies born to the 400,000 vets who suffer from Gulf War Syndrome have birth defects," said Joyce Riley, a former nurse who flew in Iraq and the founder and spokesperson of the American Gulf War Veterans Association. "But the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs do not want America to know the number of sick, dead and deformed kids that vets are having. It's another cover-up."
   Nerve Gas Exposure in Iraq in '91 Probed
by SUZANNE GAMBOA - Associated Press - Monday June 02, 2003
WASHINGTON - Since there is no way to determine how many U.S. soldiers were exposed to nerve gases in the first Gulf War (news - web sites), a congressional investigator said Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs (news - web sites) should assume they all were. When U.S. troops destroyed caches of chemical-laden weapons in January, February and March 1991, the plume of deadly gas took an unknown path, said Keith Rhodes, the General Accounting Office (news - web sites)'s chief technologist.
   U.S. to Screen Troops Returning from Iraq - and commentary
by Ross Bynum - Associated Press - Monday June 02, 2003
Col. Paula K. Underwood, an Army doctor, had just returned to her post in Germany from the 1991 Gulf War (news - web sites) when she saw a patient whose condition baffled other doctors. The patient was a soldier, also just back from the war, who complained of memory loss. He could no longer find his way from home to work. He had trouble remembering how to make his morning coffee. He was the first of 72 patients with unexplained illnesses Underwood would see before leaving Germany in 1993. Some complained of aches and pains. Others said they got sick more often than normal.
   Nerve Gas Exposure in Iraq in '91 Probed
by Suzanne Gamboa - Associated Press - Friday May 30, 2003
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government miscalculated the number of U.S. troops who may have been exposed to nerve gases when Iraqi weapons were destroyed during the first Gulf War, congressional investigators say.
   Pentagon Backtracks ? Will Study Gulf War Syndrome
by James P. Tucker Jr. - Associated Free Press - Monday May 12, 2003
Following complaints by congressmen and the glare of publicity the Defense Department has changed course and will screen veterans of Gulf War II for a collection of physical ailments associated with the first invasion of Iraq.
   Scientists Reject Pentagon Reassurances on Depleted Uranium
by Stephen Kent of Kent Communications, 845-758-0097 - U.S. Newswire - Thursday May 08, 2003
WASHINGTON, May 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A widely reprinted May 6 Associated Press wire story quoted US Army officers saying that armor-piercing depleted uranium shells used in Iraq pose no health threat, and that children playing with expended DU tank shells would have to eat and then "practically suffocate on DU residue" before health problems occurred. But a growing number of scientists and experts are repudiating such reassurances as false.
   New Study Links Birth Defects to Service in the Gulf War
Wiley-Liss, Inc. - Monday April 14, 2003
According to a just published study from the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego and the Birth Defects and Pediatric Genetics Branch of the Centers for Disease Control, the children of male Gulf War veterans have a higher prevalence of certain heart and kidney defects than non-deployed veterans. The children of female veterans who served in the Gulf War have more infants with a genitourinary defect called hypospadias. The study led by Dr. Maria Rosario Araneta measured birth defect prevalence among infants of Gulf War veterans in several states and selected counties in Arkansas, California and Georgia, and all birth certificates from Arizona, Hawaii and Iowa.
Feres Doctrine

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   US immune to legal action by veterans
by Nicholas Wapshott - London Time Online - Thursday May 08, 2003
New York - NO AMERICAN servicemen or veterans are suing the US Defense Department on similar grounds to the four British soldiers because under law it is forbidden to sue the Government or its contractors. "Under the Ferres Doctrine established by the Supreme Court in 1950 and the Federal Tort Claims Act, the sovereign duty of the Government means it cannot be sued," said Mike Maloney, a lawyer representing US servicemen who claim to have Gulf War syndrome. "Similarly, if a contractor is manufacturing to a government specification, as long as they confirm to the Government that their product may contain latent hazards, you cannot sue them either."
Lawsuits

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   Lawsuit Filed Challenging Legality of DoD's Anthrax Vaccine
by John J. Michels, Esq; Mark S. Zaid, Esq. - McGuire Woods LLP - Tuesday March 18, 2003
On the apparent eve of war, six military servicemembers and Defense Department civilian contractors filed suit today in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and requested that a federal judge declare that the anthrax vaccine is an experimental drug and illegal. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT John J. Michels, Jr., Esq. Mark S. Zaid, Esq. (312) 849-8150 (202) 223-9050 (202) 498-0011 Cell
News from Great Britian and Australia

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   (UK) Veterans Win Gulf War Ruling
BBC - Friday June 13, 2003
The High Court in London has upheld a ruling that a former soldier is entitled to a pension because he is suffering from a syndrome linked to his service in the 1991 Gulf War.
   Porton nerve gas scientists escape criminal charges
by Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent - The News Telegraph, London - Sunday June 08, 2003
Military scientists who secretly tested deadly nerve agents on unwitting British servicemen and women will not face any criminal charges, The Telegraph has learned. The Crown Prosecution Service says that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute scientists based at Porton Down, the Government's chemical warfare unit, where tests on thousands of service personnel were conducted between 1953 and 1983.
   The Suicide Squaddies
by Mike Hamilton - The Sunday Mirror/Clear Day - Sunday June 08, 2003
TWO young soldiers have killed themselves after falling ill with suspected Gulf War Syndrome following the latest conflict in Iraq. Both men committed suicide after showing recognised symptoms of the illness - blamed on controversial jabs our troops were given before the war.
   "War vaccines poisoned us"
by Rebecca Mowling - Evening Standard, London - Tuesday May 27, 2003
Four British soldiers who received jabs for the Iraq conflict are to sue the Ministry of Defence claiming they are suffering from a new form of Gulf War Syndrome.
   British War Vet Wins Gulf War Syndrome Claim
Europe Associated Press - Wednesday May 07, 2003
Britain's Ministry of Defense said Monday it will compensate a British soldier who claimed he suffered from Gulf War syndrome, though the government still says there is no proof that the condition exists. Alex Izett, 33, won a judgment from the War Pensions Appeal Tribunal that he developed osteoporosis because of a combination of inoculations he was given. Izett did not serve in the 1991 Gulf War, but the injections were identical to those given to troops who have complained of problems following their wartime duty.


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