Expand Anthrax Vaccine Tests, Report Urges Kids, Elderly, Chronically Ill Should Be Given "High Priority"
USA Today; 5D
A new report by the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine (IOM) strongly advises that testing for the anthrax vaccine involve children as well as adults. The recommendation is surprising, because it contradicts the views of several physicians and members of the military, who have publicly questioned the safety the vaccine. But the report's authors--citing the growing threat of bioterrorism-- placed a "high priority" on the expanding research into "vulnerable populations," such as children, the elderly, and the chronically ill. "If a serious anthrax outbreak were to occur, we would need to be able to provide vaccine to older people as well as children," notes Emil Gotschlich of Rockefeller University and one of the report's authors. Congress has already committed $15 million in start-up spending to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine and asked IOM to review the CDC's research plan.