Preliminary Results of GAO's Survey of Guard and Reserve Pilots and Aircrew Members [open pdf - 42KB]
In December 1997, the Secretary of Defense announced that all U.S. forces would be inoculated against the potential use of anthrax on the battlefield. In August 1998, DOD began immunizing its 2.4 million U.S. military personnel--including active and reserve component personnel--with a licensed anthrax vaccine. This program is mandatory. Some members of the armed forces have expressed concerns regarding the safety and efficacy of the anthrax vaccine. Anecdotal information suggests that an unknown number of Reservists and National Guard members have resigned or transferred to units or nonflying positions that do not require anthrax vaccinations at this time. Congress and the Department of Defense have become increasingly concerned about the readiness of U.S. armed forces. Key reasons for this concern are the increasing pace (tempo) of operations due to deployments, parts shortages and maintenance backlogs, and past problems in recruiting and retaining quality people. Report responds to the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives' request, we are examining the impact of the vaccination program on retention, the basic views of Guard and Reserve pilots and other aircrew members regarding the program, and the extent of adverse reactions experienced by anthrax vaccine recipients.