Feds Mull Testing Anthrax Vaccine on Kids
But many doctors say anthrax risks too low to justify vaccine
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2011 6:26 AM CDT
Unidentified volunteers participate in an anthrax attack drill to assess the city's ability to quickly distribute medications to large numbers of New Yorkers at Marta Valle Secondary School in New York,...   (AP Photo/Yanina Manolova)
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(Newser) – If you thought the HPV vaccine debate was lively (or, a couple of years ago, N1H1), just imagine what is going to happen with anthrax. The government is debating whether children should be inoculated against anthrax, to protect against possible bioterrorism, reports the Washington Post. “At the end of the day, do we want to wait for an attack and give it to millions and millions of children and collect data at that time?” said the doctor leading the National Biodefense Science Board, which will vote Friday on recommendations about vaccinations.

The vaccine against anthrax—long considered to be bioterrorists' toxin of choice because of its lethality and ease of manufacture—has already been tested on adults and given to more than 2.6 million in the US military, but it has never been tested on or given to children. “It’s hard to believe that it’s something that makes a great deal of sense,” says one pediatrician and bioethicist. “It would be difficult to justify testing it on kids simply on the hypothetical possibility that there might be an attack."