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DATE=2/17/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=ANTHRAX VACCINATIONS (L) NUMBER=2-259296 BYLINE=NICK SIMEONE DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: New questions are being raised about the U-S military's plan to inoculate all service personnel against the deadly biological agent anthrax. The Pentagon has long thought that countries such as Iraq or North Korea, or even a terrorist, could be prepared to use anthrax against American troops overseas. More than 400-thousand soldiers have already been vaccinated, but about 300 others are refusing the shots, fearing possible side effects. Now, some members of Congress are questioning the safety of the vaccine as well. Correspondent Nick Simeone reports from Washington. TEXT: All two-point-four-million members of the armed forces are required to take the anthrax vaccine. But a new congressional report questions whether the series of shots may lead to health problems. Republican congressman Christopher Shays, the chairman of the House (of Representatives) subcommittee that drafted the report, says there are adverse affects. He wants the Pentagon to stop forcing military personnel to take the shots until the vaccine can be improved. /// SHAYS ACT /// The military has acted too quickly and has not done what is necessary, and that is to develop a drug that is modern, that does not take six shots, that is a cleaner drug. /// END ACT /// The Pentagon is reviewing the Congressional report but has no plans to stop issuing the anthrax vaccine. It believes the shots are safe, although it admits there have been about 70 cases of adverse reactions. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Sue Bailey believes the United States would be derelict not to immunize its soldiers against a biological weapon that potential adversaries may be stockpiling. /// BAILEY ACT /// We have a very safe and effective vaccine against a very deadly biologic agent that we know to be in the hands of many of our adversaries and could be used against our forces. That would imply -- were they not vaccinated and exposed to this agent -- they would die a horrible death. /// END ACT /// The anthrax vaccine has been used by industrial and laboratory workers for 30 years. Any member of the U-S military who refuses to accept the vaccination could be discharged. But the Air Force has dropped plans for a military trial of a major who refused the shots, and will subject him instead to informal disciplinary proceedings, at his request. (Signed) NEB/NJS/gm/ 17-Feb-2000 18:03 PM EDT (17-Feb-2000 2303 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .