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 May 12, 2005
Judge Allows Pentagon to Resume Anthrax Vaccinations
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The Pentagon can resume giving troops anthrax vaccinations, but only to those who volunteer for the shots, a U.S. federal judge ruled Thursday.

Last October, the same judge banned the inoculations due to questions about the safety of the vaccine. He ruled that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration acted improperly when it allowed the Pentagon to use the experimental vaccine designed to protect against inhalation anthrax, the Associated Press reported.

In his ruling Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan partially lifted that ban, citing a law passed last year that allows unapproved drugs in cases of declared emergencies.

Sullivan wrote that the Project BioShield Act of 2004 appears to authorize the use of unapproved drugs -- or the unapproved use of approved drugs -- when defense and health authorities declare a military emergency or a possible military emergency, the AP reported.

Last December, the Defense Department asked for that kind of emergency authority from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In his ruling Thursday, Sullivan said he was making no finding on the legality of the declared emergency.


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