Anthrax Shot Mandatory for Soldiers

By: Beth Shayne
By: Beth Shayne

Since 2003, the question has been embroiled in a legal battle: Should soldiers be vaccinated against anthrax?

The Lansing-based company that makes the vaccine, then called Bioport, stood by their drug, but opponents went so far as to sue, and for a time the vaccine was voluntary for soldiers by court order.

Monday, the Department of Defense says its is once again mandatory for troops headed to dangerous areas.

First and foremost, the company now called Emergent Biosolutions says its a victory in public perception victory for their product.

Kim Brennen Root, director of communications says, "They said once and for all, that the vaccine is safe and effective."

As for production, the company's already under contract to supply 10 million vaccine doses to the government as part of a national stockpile.
They are currently renegotiating a contract with the military. It was originally likely to be for 11 million doses. Now, Brennen Root says, "We would expect an amended RFP in the next few weeks based on this new policy."

Root says they can't guess at those new numbers specifically, and cautions against overestimating the impact. She notes just 38 serviceman and woman refused the shot in the last 5 years.

An opponent of mandatory antrax vaccinations told the Washington Post they plan to turn to the courts again once the shots are being given.

That is expected to happen within the next 60 days.

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