December 23, 2003
For immediate release:
DOCTORS: Anthrax vaccine decision right for military; now apply it to children.
Washington, D.C. -- The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) issued the following statement from Executive Director,Jane M. Orient, M.D., in response to the decision yesterday by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia today granting a Preliminary Injunction prohibiting the Department of Defense from administering the anthrax vaccine to military service members or civilian contractors:
“This was the right decision and a precedent-setting one that should establish informed consent for every patient, not just the military, and that includes the right to refuse treatment.
“The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons respects the need of our military forces to maintain order and discipline as well as to protect our troops to the best of their ability and judgment. We also recognize the threat of biological warfare.
“But the judge correctly made a distinction between treatment and experimentation:
“Military doctors have told us that they would resign, rather than comply with the vaccination mandate.
“The anthrax vaccine is not the only vaccine that might be designated as experimental because of lack of data – for example, hepatitis B for newborns and children.
“The judge has protected more than 2 million military personnel and contractors from an investigational drug and a drug being used for an unapproved purpose, and said that without an informed consent or presidential waiver, the United States cannot demand that they serve as guinea pigs for experimental drugs.
“All vaccines mandates should end. The government should not be allowed to practice medicine without a license. We hope the same standard the judge applied to the military will be good enough for our children.”
(For more data and information, read “The Anthrax Controversy – Questions About its Efficacy, Safety and Strategy,” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.)