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jones.gif (5140 bytes)FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kimberly Nielsen

April 28, 1999

Jones Wants More Conclusive Testing Before Additional Troops are Immunized

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-NC), member of the House Committee on Armed Services, today called on Defense Secretary William Cohen to suspend further involuntary anthrax inoculation on military personnel until more thorough testing can dismiss the possibility of associated health risks.

In an April 28 letter to Secretary Cohen, Jones referenced a report confirming the presence of squalene antibodies in veterans who received the inoculation from 1990-1991 and contracted serious and debilitating illnesses. Squalene antibodies have been found in the blood of those uniformed personnel who served overseas and those who remained within the United States during the Gulf War. A full text of Congressman Jones' letter to Cohen is available upon request.

"I fully recognize the imperative to provide our men and women in uniform protection against unconventional threats such as biological weapons," Jones wrote. "However, I am concerned that the Department may be moving ahead with the implementation of an anthrax vaccine program prior to conducting the full range of scientific and medical tests necessary to appropriately reduce the risks of unintended health consequences for those required to receive the inoculation."

"After hearing from a number of my constituents, I now feel that I would be failing in my responsibility if I did not call attention to the legitimate questions of safety that surround the Department's policy of administering the anthrax vaccination. I have heard from too many military officers from the state of North Carolina alone, whose fierce loyalty and dedication to this country has forced them to offer their resignation from the service rather than disobey a direct order to receive a potentially unsafe immunization," Jones wrote.

"Mr. Secretary, I am certain you share my conviction that we, in both Congress and the Executive Branch, cannot falter in our responsibilities to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of those who serve their country in uniform," Jones wrote. "I urge you to impose a moratorium on involuntary anthrax vaccinations until a more thorough examination of the connection between previous vaccinations and adverse health affects has been completed."

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