Government board considers testing anthrax vaccine on kids

Posted: October 25, 2011 in Health, US News

ROB STEIN
Washington Post
October 25, 2011

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is wrestling with the thorny question of whether scientists should inject healthy children with the anthrax vaccine to see whether the shots would safely protect them against a bioterrorism attack.

The other option is to wait until an attack happens and then try to gather data from children whose parents agree to inoculate them in the face of an actual threat.

A key working group of federal advisers in September endorsed testing, sparking objections from those who consider that step unethical, unnecessary and dangerous. The National Biodefense Safety Board (NBSB), which advises the federal government, meets Friday to vote on its working group’s recommendation.

“At the end of the day, do we want to wait for an attack and give it to millions and millions of children and collect data at that time?” said Daniel Fagbuyi of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, who chaired the group. “Or do we want to say: ‘How do we best protect our children?’ We can take care of grandma and grandpa, uncle and auntie. But right now we have nothing for the children.”

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