Armed Forces News

A federal judge ruled Jan. 7 that the Defense Department again could legally administer anthrax immunizations to troops. That same day, DoD personnel chief Dr. David S.C. Chu notified military commanders by memorandum that they “should immediately resume the anthrax vaccination program.” The department, Chu wrote, “remains convinced that the AVIP complies with all legal requirements, and there is now no judicial restraint” on administration of the vaccine. DoD’s anthrax vaccine immunization program had been in hiatus since Dec. 23, after an injunction granted the previous day by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia caused it to suspend the program. Senior Pentagon leaders, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, insist that the anthrax vaccine is safe and necessary for troops deployed in the war against terrorism. Both of them have received anthrax shots.