Pentagon recalls 200,000 anthrax vaccines destined for Gulf
March 6, 1998
A soldier is vaccinated in December
Web posted at: 10:40 a.m. EST (1540 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A shipment of 200,000 doses of anthrax
vaccine destined for U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf was
stopped because it apparently had frozen during shipment,
destroying its effectiveness, CNN has learned.
At $3.50 per dose, the shipment is valued at some $700,000,
defense officials said. It is not clear when the temperature
change took place.
The problem was discovered about two weeks ago. Another
shipment of 200,000 doses was sent shortly thereafter to
replace the damaged batch, so the inoculation of troops in
the Gulf could take place on schedule, to protect them
against the potentially lethal germ-warfare agent.
The first in a series of shots is to be administered to
troops next week.
Inhaling anthrax spores can cause death within a week unless the victim has been vaccinated
Officials, speaking on the condition they not be named, said
the vaccines were shipped from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania,
to Germany en route to the Middle East.
In Germany, someone noticed that at least one of the 20,000
vials had suffered a radical temperature change, apparently
freezing and rendering the doses useless.
Army Surgeon Lt. Gen. Ronald Blanck sent specialists to
Germany to examine the shipment to see if any of it could be
salvaged. The results of their examination are not yet
available, the officials said.
CNN Military Affairs Producer Chris Plante contributed to this report.