Saturday, October 30, 2004

Letter Sent to Rumsfeld

The following letter was sent to Rumsfeld by three Senators as of yet there has been no answer. Please comment so that I can show that we want to know.

October 13, 2004

The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense
The Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:

We write regarding concerns raised in recent press reports about the military's anthrax vaccination program at Dover Air Force Base. Former Dover AFB Commander, Colonel Felix Grieder, has alleged that his troops were subjected to human tests involving the use of the adjuvant squalene in the anthrax vaccine. We request the Department conduct a thorough investigation of the presence of squalene in the anthrax vaccine used at Dover AFB from the inception of this vaccination program to current useage. Furthermore, we request that the Department immediately provide us with written assurance that all vaccinations currently being performed at Dover AFB do not contain the adjuvant squalene.

The importance of clearing the air on this issue cannot be overstated. It is in the best interests of everyone for there to be well-documented and readily available information regarding the necessity of the anthrax vaccine, the presence or absence of squalene, and the possible health effects associated with the vaccine and given amounts of squalene. It is critical to the credibility of the U.S. Air Force that the concerns raised by a former wing commander be reviewed in an open and transparent fashion. The controversy surrounding the history of the anthrax vaccine at Dover AFB creates a drag on morale and concerns among personnel at a time when all of their energy should be devoted to their vital missions.

As part of resolving this issue, we would like to know the results of the research we understand the Department has done on the effects of squalene in vaccines. In addition, it is important to explain the rationale for the Army’s decision to seek a patent for a new anthrax vaccine that includes squalene. What is the status of that vaccine’s development and testing? In the case of squalene, what is the scientific basis being used by the military for deciding that there are no harmful effects resulting from the introduction of a foreign element into the human body, even if that element is already present in the body?

It is critical that the Department provide more specific, comprehensive, and scientifically defensible answers that explain what happened at Dover AFB, what the Department is doing to ensure that there is not a repeat of these problems, and how the Department is ensuring accountability. At a minimum, a great deal of unnecessary confusion and anxiety has been caused by the handling of this issue. At a maximum, intentional actions or unintentional incompetence may have created a health hazard for our personnel. In light of the fact that the mandatory anthrax vaccination program is being restarted and expanded, we believe it essential that you address the questions and concerns raised in these reports as quickly as possible.

Again, we request that the Department undertake a complete investigation and provide us with a detailed report by November 15, 2004. We look forward to your answers to these questions and to working with you to ensure the safety of our military personnel. For your information we have attached copies of the recent relevant press stories.


Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Thomas R. Carper Michael N. Castle
United States Senator United States Senator Member of Congress

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