The Washington Post

Giving the anthrax vaccine to kids? Health experts weigh the pros and cons of this decision

A vile with an individual dose of an anthrax vaccine. (THOR SWIFT)

“The other option is to wait until an attack happens and then try to gather data from children whose parents agree to inoculate them in the face of an actual threat,” writes Rob Stein.

“Unlike with measles, mumps and other diseases, the chance that children will be exposed to anthrax is theoretical, making the risk-benefit calculus of testing a vaccine on them much more questionable.”

A working group of federal advisers endorsed testing in September. The National Biodefense Science Board, which advises the federal government, will meet Friday to vote on the group’s recommendation.

Meryl Nass is one of the most outspoken critics of testing the vaccine in critics. “Nass and others maintain that there are serious questions about the vaccine’s effectiveness in adults as well as concerns about sometimes serious complications among those vaccinated in the military,” says Stein. “A variety of complications have been reported, including nervous system and autoimmune disorders, Nass said.”

Should the National Biodefense Science Board vote in favor of testing the vaccine in children? Should scientists wait until there’s an attack to administer the vaccine? Share your thoughts.

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