The Federal government, citing the possible threat of an anthrax attack, is considering whether it should begin injecting healthy children with an anthrax vaccine, the possible side effects of which are unknown.
The National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB)— created by the Federal government in 2006 to “prevent, prepare for and respond to chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological health threats” — is set to meet Friday to vote on whether it will recommend testing the drug on children, according to The Washington Post.
The vaccine, which is made from a strain of anthrax, has been tested on adults and administered to about 2.6 million people in the military.
The government has long administered a series of vaccinations to children under the justification that the diseases for which they are presently vaccinated against actually exist. Opponents of testing anthrax vaccines on children say the risks of vaccinating against the possibility of an attack outweigh the benefits.
“With this, you’re putting children at risk for no clear scientific or medical benefit,” Meryl Nass, a doctor in Bangor, Maine, who is one of the most outspoken critics of testing the vaccine on children, told The Washington Post.
Though the vaccine has been administered to adults in the military, it has not been done so without adverse reactions. Military personnel inoculated with the drug have reported a variety of complications, including nervous system and autoimmune disorders.