Leader's Speak Out
Presidential Candidate George W. Bush, US Medicine. Sep. 2000 (Quoted in Duke Law paper):
"The Defense Department's Anthrax Immunization Program has raised numerous health concerns and caused fear among the individuals whose lives it touches. I don't feel the [Clinton] administration's anthrax immunization program has taken into account the effect of this program on the soldiers in our military and their families. Under my administration, soldiers and their families will be taken into consideration."
Presidential Candidate Sen. John McCain, San Diego Union Tribune. Feb. 26, 2000:
"I think that there should be a pause. I think that they have not done the job in educating the members of the military, and I would pause and I would get the best scientific and medical people together and make a better argument than they've made ... I'm not saying that I know enough to say that it should never be, but right now members of the armed services, the Guard and reserves are not accepting it."
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Pentagon News Briefings, Oct. 18, 2001:
"We're going to try and save it. There have been other efforts that have failed over a period of years. And it may or may not be savable ... it's not very well underway, as you point out ... they have not been approved by the FDA, as I understand it. They do not have what looks to be -- well, I shouldn't be characterizing a private entity that way, but things have not been going swimmingly for them ..."
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Pentagon News Briefings, October 25, 2001:
Q: Are you taking the anthrax vaccine, Mr. Secretary?
Secretary Rumsfeld: No.
Q: You're not being inoculated; you're not taking a series.
Secretary Rumsfeld: No. No.
Q: All right. No vaccine.
Secretary Rumsfeld: No, no, no.
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Pentagon News Briefings, October 28, 2001:
Q: Okay. Mr. Secretary, have you been vaccinated against anthrax?
Secretary Rumsfeld: No. Have you?
Sen. Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader, CNN. Dec. 18, 2001:
"The vaccine is a dated vaccine, it's an old vaccine. There are very real and potentially serious side effects from the vaccine and anyone who elects to receive the vaccine needs to be made aware of that. I do not recommend widespread inoculation for people with the vaccine in the Hart Building ...There are too many side effects and if there is limited chance of exposure the side effects would far outweigh any potential advantage."
Al Gore, Presidential Candidate, Apr. 11, 2000 (reported in the Chicago Tribune):
"I feel the concerns are genuine. I also know that sometimes concerns of this sort are based on confusing data that is hard to interpret. But based on the concerns I have heard from military personnel directly, I think we are justified in taking a closer look -- I think that some increased sensitivity to the kinds of questions that are being raised is needed."
Stephen Hadley, Bush administration Deputy National Security Adviser, PBS News Hour, Sept. 2000:
"The vaccination program is a very serious issue. Maintaining the trust and confidence of our men and women in uniform is critical to the future of our armed forces. Some months ago, Governor Bush called for the Commander-in-Chief and our military leaders to be very mindful of the concerns of our men and women in uniform and their families about the vaccine, and called for the government to do more to address their concerns. Hopefully the [Clinton] administration will respond."
Senator Tom Daschle and Rep. Dick Gephardt, Joint letter by Congress' Majority leadership:
"Dear Secretary Rumsfeld: As you continue your strategic review of the Defense Department's strategy and policies, we write to express our interest in and concern about reports regarding the Pentagon's continued use of an anthrax vaccine on our military personnel. ... As a result, we are troubled by several reports and actions that raise questions about whether continuing to administer the current anthrax vaccine is in the best interests of our personnel. ... "
Senator Mike Crapo, February 24th, 2000 letter to the Secretary of Defense (unsigned copy):
"Dear Mr. Secretary [Cohen]: I have reviewed the preliminary report of the House Government Reform Subcommittee regarding the Department of Defense (DoD) Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program (AVIP). I am concerned that sufficient questions regarding the safety and efficacy of the program have been raised to warrant further investigation of what I believe to be a well-intended program. In the meantime, I have serious concerns about the state of opinion in the armed forces concerning the AVIP program. Ad hoc explanations concerning the vaccine production facilities have served to inflame--rather than to allay--servicemembers' and the public's concerns. Accordingly, I believe that the military branches should cease all disciplinary actions related to the anthrax vaccination program, pending a thorough review of the AVIP program and FDA approval of the BioPort production facilities."
Senator Kent Conrad, letter to President Clinton 16 Dec 1999:
"Dear Mr. President: I write to urge you to reexamine the Department of Defense's (DoD's) policy concerning the anthrax vaccine. ... The concerns brought to my attention are legitimate, and I believe it would be appropriate for the Pentagon to seriously and thoroughly review them before the inoculation is administered to the entire United States military. The following issues warrant particular attention: - The nature of the threat. ... - Long term health impacts. - Impact on pregnancy. ... I believe this respite provides an important opportunity to reevaluate DoD's policy regarding the anthrax vaccine. ... "
Senator Richard Lugor letter to the Secretary of Defense:
"Dear Secretary Rumsfeld: I have noted recent developments in the Department of Defense's anthrax vaccine policy. Reports suggest that you have signed off on a plan to set aside your predecessor's policy to vaccinate the entire force in favor of a plan that will only vaccinate those who are at risk for exposure. As you finalize details of the new plan, I ask you to review carefully the effects that the old program had on the uniformed military who refused to submit to the shot series and left the military. ... "
Senator Jeff Bingaman, Congressional Resolution (SR 278) statement:
"In addition to studying the mandatory nature of the vaccines, the resolution also asks the Secretary of Defense to: - Reconsider adverse actions taken against servicemen and women on the basis of refusal to take the smallpox or anthrax vaccines. - Reevaluate, with the Intelligence community, the current threat of anthrax and smallpox attacks on our troops, in and effort to reflect current operational realities when considering the continuation of a mandatory vaccination of a mandatory vaccination program."
Representative Nancy Johnson, September 30, 1999 Press release on testimony to Congress and letter to SECDEF:
"Suspend the mandatory aspect of the program and to reverse the dishonorable discharges of servicemen who have refused to take the vaccine ... every soldier is well aware of the dangers that come with serving in the military, but I doubt they ever expected their government would force them to take a vaccine that has unknown long-term side effects."
Mr. Ross Perot, January 24, 2002, testimony to the Congress:
"We're not ready, and the sooner we start, the sooner we finish. For example, on anthrax, which is--you're not going to get it done in BioPort. You are going to take care of some of these buddies. I said all I want to know is who are the investors. Nobody will tell me who are the investors in BioPort. That sounds off a big bell in my head. ... And no matter how much damage this shot does, and believe me, I have talked to all the Tigers that have been damaged, there is a group of Air Force officers who have taken this as a major mission. They had to get out of the Air Force, but, boy oh boy, they are all over it for their friends, and the medical data they have pulled together are overwhelming. It's the kind of information you keep reaching for. They just pull together everything that's been done."
Richard Blumenthal, Attorney General for the state of Connecticut, Letter to the Secretary of Defense, March 22, 2001:
"Mandatory vaccination of troops with a biologic product not licensed for its current use violates the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and 10 U.S.C. ￂﾧ 1107. I call upon the DoD to cease and desist from its illegal conduct and to abandon its plans for Anthrax Vaccine inoculation of the Armed Forces. Rather, the Department of Defense should make inoculation voluntary as the United Kingdom has done, or properly invoke the President's powers as required by statute."
Representative Chris Shays, House National Security Subcommittee Chairman, PBS News Hour, December 23, 2003:
"It's just really a pathetic program that is so regretful that they consider to keep going on. It just boggles my mind. ... In 1996 they applied this drug to be an investigative new drug. The FDA has not approved it. There have been no protocols to establish this program. They just basically invented this program."
Representative Chris Shays, New York Daily News, December 13, 2003:
"This decision ends years of coercive practices that has spanned two administrations and shaken the faith of many in the integrity of military medicine and command decision-making."
request of the President
Correct military records of any Service member
punished over the illegal anthrax vaccine program