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Ethics of testing anthrax vaccine on children debated

WASHINGTON — Should the anthrax vaccine be tested in children? It will be a while longer before the government decides.

An advisory board said Friday that ethical issues need to be resolved — but if that can be done the vaccine can be tested in children to be sure it's safe and to learn the proper dose in case it's needed in a terrorist attack.

Because of concerns that terrorists might use the potentially deadly bacteria, the government has stockpiled the vaccine. It has been widely tested on adults but never on children.

The National Biodefense Science Board said Friday a separate review board should look into the ethical issues of doing such tests on children. If that is completed successfully, the panel said, the Department of Health and Human Services should develop a plan for a study of the vaccine in children.

The board gives advice to the Department of Health and Human Services on preparations for chemical, biological and nuclear events. Its vote was 12-1.

Ethics of testing anthrax vaccine on children debated 10/28/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 29, 2011 12:20am]

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