Tags: Ex-Servicemen | Sue | Over | Anthrax | Shot

Ex-Servicemen Sue Over Anthrax Shot

Thursday, 03 May 2001 12:00 AM

The suit was filed by Sonnie Bates, a major who was given an honorable discharge last year after refusing the vaccine, and John Buck, a doctor who faces court-martial proceedings.

"The ultimate purpose of this lawsuit is to open the eyes of the Pentagon and the new administration and have them say, 'Enough is enough; this has to end,'" said Mark Zaid, who is representing Bates and Buck along with co-counsel John J. Michels Jr.

The suit seeks a court order that would require the FDA to treat the vaccine as an experimental drug. Such a ruling would mean the military could no longer administer it without informed consent.

Bates and Buck are among more than 450 military personnel who have refused to undergo a six-shot anthrax vaccination program as protection against biological warfare.

Pentagon officials had hoped to vaccinate all personnel by 2003 but have been slowed by a continuing shortage of the vaccine. They have temporarily scaled back the program, focusing primarily on service members being sent into the Persian Gulf.

"This is an FDA-approved vaccine, and it's safe and effective," said Jim Turner, a Defense Department spokesman. "There is a very real threat ... and we want to have our people ready."

Bates, of Ellendale, Del., refused to take the vaccine in November 1999, leading to the end of his 14-year military career. He now is a corporate pilot. Buck is scheduled to face court-martial charges in September at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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The suit was filed by Sonnie Bates, a major who was given an honorable discharge last year after refusing the vaccine, and John Buck, a doctor who faces court-martial proceedings. The ultimate purpose of this lawsuit is to open the eyes of the Pentagon and the new...
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Thursday, 03 May 2001 12:00 AM
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