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Federal judge orders Pentagon to suspend mandatory anthrax shots for troops

[JURIST] US District Judge Emmet Sullivan has ordered the Defense Department to suspend its Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program, which provides mandatory anthrax vaccinations for troops, because the vaccine did not receive proper approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Six anonymous members of the military challenged the Pentagon policy and Judge Sullivan ruled that the lack of data on the effects of inhaled anthrax exposure makes the vaccine an "investigational" drug that cannot be forced on soldiers. Judge Sullivan also ruled that the FDA violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to give the public adequate opportunity to comment before approving the vaccine. Read the court's opinion [PDF]. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has issued a memorandum [PDF] responding to the court order; the DOD also has this press release. Thursday's Chicago Tribune has more. The FDA has background on anthrax vaccinations.

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