From the February 2003 Idaho Observer:


British soldiers refuse anthrax shots

Vaccine vials jettisoned?

BBC, LONDON -- Though British Defence Minister Lewis Moonie believes anthrax is a serious threat to troops deploying to Iraq, the shot is voluntary for its soldiers. Defence spokesman Paul Keetch reportedly commented Feb. 11, 2002 that, of the 16,538 service personnel being deployed to the Gulf region, only 8,103 accepted the invitation to be jabbed with the anthrax vaccine.

Keetch has criticized the government for not ordering troops to receive the vaccination which has caused so many adverse reactions and has never been proven to confer immunity to the anthrax.

Curiously, there have been reports that British troops who opted to get the shot are being asked to sign waivers agreeing to not claim compensation if they become ill after having vaccinations. The wife of a serviceman leaving for the Gulf reported that her husband “...was told, if he wanted to have these jabs, he had to sign a disclaimer saying that, if he had illness in the future, he couldn't claim compensation.”

The Defence department admits that it considered such a policy but rejected the idea.

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Anthrax overboard

LONDON (CNSNews.com) -- A veterans' organization says a stockpile of more than 100,000 doses of anthrax vaccine found on a British beach may have been thrown overboard deliberately by sailors deploying to the Persian Gulf. Jim Moore, a spokesman for the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association (NGVFA), said Thursday his organization has no conclusive proof that the vaccine vials that washed up in Dorset, southern England, were thrown overboard. But Moore noted that the circumstances surrounding the vaccine find are suspicious.

“For anything to be accidentally washed overboard on an aircraft carrier is highly unusual,” he said. “This gives us cause for concern and there are a lot of questions that need to be asked.”

The NGVFA believes that improperly administered vaccines might be one of the causes behind “Gulf War Syndrome,” a mysterious collection of symptoms that is thought to afflict 5,000 vets in Britain and 200,000 in the United States.

A Ministry of Defense spokeswoman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that an internal investigation to locate the source of the vaccine find was underway.