October 31, 2011
Children Will Not Be Given Anthrax Vaccine, For Now
A government advisory board said on Friday that for now, children will not be given an anthrax vaccine.
The board said that ethical issues need to be resolved before the vaccine can be tested in children to be sure it is safe.
The government has stockpiled the vaccine due to concerns of terrorist using it as a biological weapon.
The National Biodefense Science Board said on Friday that a separate review board should look into the ethical issues of doing such tests in children.
The ethical question is whether to do tests to determine if children's immune systems respond to the shots.
"Protecting children still stands, for me, among the most important responsibilities that we have as a nation," Dr. Nicole Lurie, a member of the board and assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Public Health Service, said in a statement.
The panel said the Department of Health and Human Services would develop the plan for studying the vaccine in children.
Anthrax is among several potential options for biological warfare. It was sent in letters in 2001 to people in the media, claiming five lives and sickening 17.
The FBI blamed the attacks on Bruce Ivins, a scientist at an Army biodefense laboratory.
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