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Federal judge dismisses challenge to DOD anthrax vaccine program

[JURIST] A federal judge Friday dismissed [opinion, PDF] a lawsuit brought by members of the US military against the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] that sought to make an anthrax vaccine optional rather than mandatory. The military personnel had challenged a finding by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [official website] that the vaccine was safe, but Judge Rosemary Collyer of the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the FDA had "considered the relevant data and articulated an explanation" of why the vaccine was safe. AP has more.

In 2005, the Bush administration asked the US DC Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate [JURIST report] the DOD's mandatory anthrax vaccination program [official website]. The anthrax was labeled for use by individuals who are at high risk for exposure to the disease, but the Bush administration argued that that definition is broad enough to include military personnel. In October 2004, a US federal district court ordered the DOD to suspend its mandatory vaccination program [JURIST report] because the vaccine had not received proper approval by the FDA. In March 2005, a federal district court ruled [JURIST report] that DOD could administer anthrax vaccinations on a voluntary basis.

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