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Pentagon to consider whether to suspend anthrax vaccinations

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon says it may have to suspend its program to vaccinate all 2.4 million active duty and reserve military personnel against anthrax, if the next batch of vaccine is not certified as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.

Pentagon spokesman Adm. Craig Quigley said Friday that no decision would be made until mid-July, when results will be available from a test of a patch of new vaccine.

"When we have those results in hand we will have a decision to make," Quigley said.

The Pentagon is due to learn the week of July 10, whether 200,000 doses of the anthrax vaccine will be available for use.

The supply of vaccine is just about exhausted, and if the new batch of vaccine does not pass the required tests, the Pentagon would have little choice but to suspend the anthrax vaccinations.

Even if the vaccine is certified as safe, the Pentagon might decide to limit the vaccinations to personnel in high-risk areas, such as the Persian Gulf.



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