Department of Defense Anthrax Vaccine Program: Unproven Force Protection Committee on Government Reform, One Hundred Sixth Congress, Second Session, April 3, 2000 [open pdf - 393KB]
House Report 106-556: Responding to service members' complaints of program insensitivity to adverse health effects, inadequate medical recordkeeping, and heavy-handed program operation, the Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations initiated an oversight investigation into the design and implementation of the Department of Defense [DOD] force-wide, mandatory Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program [AVIP]. Because the anthrax vaccine is still being studied as a potential causative or contributing factor in Gulf war veterans' illnesses, the subcommittee measured the program against this standard: Any expanded use of the same vaccine should be undertaken only with the greatest care and only to the extent necessary. Hearing reviews the Oversight Investigation into the design and implementation of the Department of Defense force-wide mandatory Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program. As currently designed and implemented, the anthrax vaccine program fails on both counts. The AVIP lacks a consistent standard of care and is designed to reach far beyond those at risk. Based on the testimonial and documentary record, the subcommittee finds the AVIP a well-intentioned but overwrought response to the threat of anthrax as a biological weapon. Against the so-called "asymmetric" threats to U.S. conventional military superiority posed by a growing range of chemical and biological weapons, the anthrax vaccine program represents a medical maginot line, a fixed fortification protecting against attack from only one direction.