Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Anthrax jabs stockpiled in (Olympics) biological terrorism alert/ London Evening Standard

Interesting that the authorities vaccinated 500 health workers with smallpox vaccine, but are only stockpiling anthrax vaccine, not using it preemptively.  Yet you can vaccinate with smallpox vaccine up to several days after an exposure and it will still prevent the disease, due to smallpox's several week long incubation period. 

On the other hand, one needs several doses of anthrax vaccine to generate a high antibody titre (of uncertain effectiveness) -- so in order for anthrax vaccine to be effective against a terrorist exposure, you must be vaccinated ahead of time.  Antibiotics, however, can be used instead of vaccine, since anthrax is a bacterium while smallpox is a virus against which drugs are less effective.

Makes me wonder if the UK authorities understand that the dangers from anthrax vaccine far outweigh those from smallpox vaccine.  Smallpox is admittedly the most dangerous licensed vaccine in the US.  (DHHS has conveniently given a waiver of liability to the manufacturers of both anthrax and smallpox vaccines.)
Britain is building up stocks of vaccine to cope with an anthrax attack at the Olympics, the Standard can reveal.

The Government is replenishing its anthrax jabs stockpile in time for April to safeguard the 2012 Games as part of London's biggest security operation.

The supply of inoculations to combat anthrax poisoning to the Department of Health was hit by delays between October 2009 and March 2011. The resulting shortfall in supply is set to be made up within the next four months.

More than 500 health workers have also been vaccinated against smallpox, enabling them to respond to a biological terror attack.

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