A top Iowa public health official was the only no vote on the National Biodefense Science Board for a study testing anthrax vaccinations on children. Iowa Department of Public Health Medical Director, Patricia Quinlisk, heads the board which advises the federal government on bioterrorism issues.
Quinlisk says the board voted 12-1 in favor of testing the anthrax vaccine on children now, so they know how to use the vaccine in case of an outbreak. “This is a vaccine though is given to large numbers of military adults, we’ve not given it to children so we don know how children might respond,” Quinlisk said. Dr. Quinlisk says she’s uncomfortable with the idea of testing kids right now.
There might be potential risks of the vaccine,and because of that I just felt it would be better to do it at a time when the benefit of the vaccine is obvious,” Quinlisk explained. Even though the board voted to go ahead with the testing, Quinlisk says the federal Health and Human Services agency will get more input on ethical concerns before proceeding with the study.
Quinlisk says if terrorists unleash the anthrax virus, the nation would respond with antibiotics and vaccinations for both children and adults. The country keeps millions of doses stockpiled for such an emergency.