Thursday, December 13, 2007

Final Defense Authorization Bill Includes Allen Provision that Seeks Answers about Vaccinations for Military Personnel

Credits Barbara Damon-Day for her “determination to spare other military families distress about possible health risks to their loved ones”

Washington, D.C. (Wednesday, December 12, 2007)---U.S. Representative Tom Allen announced today that the House-Senate conference report on the defense authorization bill for Fiscal Year 2008 includes his amendment directing the Department of Defense to assess policies governing vaccinations given to military personnel. Representative Allen drafted the amendment in response to concerns about the possibility of serious health impacts from multiple vaccinations raised by one of his constituents, Barbara Damon-Day of Newcastle, Maine. Mrs. Damon-Day has been an outspoken advocate for such a policy assessment since her son, Captain Patrick Damon, died suddenly of undetermined causes in Bagram, Afghanistan during deployment with the 240th Engineer Group of the Maine National Guard.

“We vaccinate our Armed Forces to protect them from disease, but we must also protect them from potential serious harm that may result from multiple vaccinations administered at one time,” Representative Allen said. “The provision I included in the defense authorization bill requires the Defense Department to review its vaccination policy and make a report to Congress on how it minimizes any risks to our Armed Forces from multiple vaccinations. I am grateful to Barbara Damon-Day for her tireless effort to bring about these vaccinations to the attention of legislators and the public and for her determination to spare other military families distress about possible health risks to their loved ones who serve America overseas.”

“We need to do everything we can at the State and Federal level to protect our service members from non-combat injuries and deaths,” Barbara Damon-Day said. “They train for combat, but we lose more servicemen and women to non-combat deaths and we must work to make them as safe as possible.”

Pat Damon worked as a staff member in the Legislature and the Public Advocate’s office. Since his death in June 2006, Mrs. Damon-Day has led a campaign to improve the Defense Department’s medical screening of Armed Forces prior to their deployment overseas. Earlier this year, the Maine Legislature created a commission to improve medical screening of Maine Guard personnel before they go overseas.

contact: Mark Sullivan, (207)774-5019

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