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Anthrax Vaccine Presumption - VDBC meeting Jan 19, 20 2006

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  • DSBR@gulflink.org
    Dear Readers Today and tomorrow Dr. Meryl Nass will be talking to the Veterans Disability Benefit Commission about Anthrax Vaccine Presumption issues. As you
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 19, 2006
      Dear Readers

      Today and tomorrow Dr. Meryl Nass will be talking
      to the Veterans Disability Benefit Commission about
      Anthrax Vaccine Presumption issues.

      As you know, Title 38 ss 1117 and 1118 discuss
      Gulf War Illness service connection points. In
      this there is a section on vaccine presumption
      wherein Gulf War veterans are supposed to be
      given benefit of doubt on vaccine injuries.

      But, since the Secretary of VA never signed off
      on Vaccine Illness because he doesnt feel there
      is any positive associations with illness. VA
      doesnt recognize the Anthrax Vaccine as causing

      With the passing of Biosheild II the vaccine
      manufacturers are no longer responsible for
      product liability. So with that you get hurt by
      a vaccine in the future - tough. Which is even
      all the more reason to pursue service connection
      issues with the current Anthtax Vaccine.

      I had brought this point up with the VDBC in
      August 2005, they choose to avoid it.

      More to follow......

      Kirt P. Love
      Director, DSBR


      page 26

      Legislative History for the VA Disability Compensation Program
      1. The following statement, which is found at p. 4, second paragraph, may be
      misleading: “Presumption of service-connection now includes vaccinations
      against certain biological war hazards in preparation for operations in the
      Persian Gulf.” In fact, neither Congress nor VA has created any such
      presumption. Congress did authorize VA to create such presumptions if the
      Secretary becomes convinced that there is a positive association between such
      inoculations and the development of disease, but that has not yet occurred.


      The Commission members are appointed by the President and leaders of Congress,
      and the Commission is independent of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the
      Department of Defense.

      The Commission will meet in open session approximately monthly. Listed below is
      the schedule of meetings and their locations. We will provide as much advance
      notice as possible of meetings, but please understand that occasionally events
      may occur that require us to change the schedule and/or locations.

      There is no public meeting scheduled for the month of December 2005.

      The next public meeting is planned for January 19 and 20, 2006, with subsequent
      meetings tentatively planned for the third Thursday and Friday of each month in
      2006. The January 2006 meeting will be conducted in a meeting room at the
      Embassy Suites Hotel Washington, DC-Convention Center, 900 10th Street, NW ,
      Washington , DC 20001 . The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. on both days and
      end at 4:45 p.m. on Thursday and 3:00 p.m. on Friday.

      A schedule of proposed field site visits is also under development and will be
      posted as soon as details are available.

      For more information or to contact the Commission please e-mail
      veterans@... or call (202) 756-7729.



      The following material regarding vaccinations received by Gulf War troops were
      extracted from the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM)
      report, entitled Gulf War and Health: Volume 1. Depleted Uranium, Sarin,
      Pyridostigmine Bromide, Vaccines (available on-line at www.nap.edu). The
      report, released in September 2000, focuses on the four areas of health
      concerns included in the subtitle. Other agents will be evaluated in future

      The IOM report was required by two laws: the Veterans Programs Enhancement Act
      of 1998 (Public Law 105-368 and the Persian Gulf War Veterans Act of 1998
      (Public Law 105-277). In reality, VA contracted with the IOM for the review
      several months prior to the enactment of this legislation.


      Gulf War Veterans’ Compensation

      Compensation for Undiagnosed Illnesses. Veterans, veterans service
      organizations (VSOs), and members of the public have demanded that the Federal
      Government develop new ways of responding to Gulf War-related health care
      needs. In response, VA requested and was given authority under Public Law 103-
      446, signed November 2, 1994, to compensate any Persian Gulf veteran suffering
      from a chronic disability resulting from an undiagnosed illness. In March 1997,
      VA extended through December 2001, the compensation eligibility period during
      which the signs and symptoms must become evident.

      Fair Compensation Policy. In June 1998, VA asked the IOM to help assess the
      scientific literature linking Gulf War environmental exposures to potential
      health problems. This effort was modeled after the successful process VA has
      used since the early 1990s to establish a sound and scientifically based
      compensation policy for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange. Environmental
      exposures are classified according to the strength of their association with
      specific diseases or categories of disease. Four months later, Congress
      supported this effort with legislative mandates, including the "Veterans
      Programs Enhancement Act of 1998" (Public Law 105-368) and the "Persian Gulf
      War Veterans Act of 1998" (Public Law 105-277). Public Law 105-277 requires the
      Secretary to determine, based on IOM reports, whether particular illnesses
      warrant a presumption of service connection and, if so, to set compensation
      regulations establishing such a connection for each illness.

      Institute of Medicine (IOM) Involvement. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs
      requested that the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM)
      provide an independent scientific review of the evidence regarding associations
      between diseases and exposure in the military service to selected risk factors
      encountered during the Gulf War. On September 7, 2000, the IOM issued a report,
      Gulf War and Health: Volume 1: Depleted Uranium, Sarin, Pyridostigmine Bromide,
      Vaccines (www.nap.edu/html/gulf_war). The IOM limited its initial review to an
      analysis of the health effects of depleted uranium (DU), the chemical warfare
      agent sarin, vaccinations against botulinum toxin and anthrax, and
      pyridostigmine bromide (PB) — the agents of most concern to veterans and their
      representatives. The review took into account the strength of scientific
      evidence and the appropriateness of the methods used to identify associations.
      It included an assessment of the biologic plausibility of any exposures that
      may be associated with Gulf War veterans’ illnesses. The IOM made
      recommendations for additional scientific studies to resolve areas of
      uncertainty. The MVHCB Research Working Group is closely evaluating these
      recommendations to ensure the research portfolio adequately addresses the IOM’s

      In reporting its findings, the IOM included one exposure in the
      category "Sufficient Evidence of a Causal Relationship": exposure to sarin and
      dose-dependent acute poisoning effects that are evident promptly (seconds to
      hours) after exposure, and resolve in days to months. Acute poisoning effects
      short of death include constricted pupils, runny nose, increased sweating and
      salivation, weakness, headache, blurred vision, nausea, diarrhea, cessation of
      breathing, and convulsions.

      The IOM included three entries in the category "Sufficient Evidence of an
      Association": 1) PB administration and short-lasting, immediate effects
      primarily gastrointestinal in nature (nausea, diarrhea) in doses normally used
      in treatment and for diagnostic purposes; 2) anthrax vaccination and short-
      lasting, immediate local and systemic effects (redness, swelling, fever); and
      3) botulinum toxoid vaccination and short-lasting, immediate local and systemic
      effects (redness, swelling, fever, headache, nausea diarrhea, hives, blurred
      vision dizziness).

      The IOM placed one item in the category "Limited/Suggestive Evidence of an
      Association": exposure to sarin at doses sufficient to cause acute signs and
      symptoms of nerve agent poisoning and subsequent long-term effects
      (psychological and/or neurological).

      Approximately half of the IOM conclusions were in the
      category "Inadequate/Insufficient Evidence to Determine Whether an Association
      Does or Does Not Exist." These included: 1) exposure to uranium and lung cancer
      at high levels of cumulative exposure; 2) exposure to uranium and lymphatic
      cancer; bone cancer; nervous system disease; nonmalignant respiratory disease;
      or other health outcomes; 3) PB and long-term adverse health effects; 4)
      exposure to sarin at low doses insufficient to cause acute poisoning signs and
      symptoms, and subsequent long-term adverse health effects; 5) anthrax
      vaccination and long-term adverse health effects; 6) botulinum toxoid
      vaccination and long-term adverse health effects; and 7) multiple vaccinations
      and long-term adverse health effects.

      The IOM included two items in the final category "Limited/Suggestive Evidence
      of No Association": 1) exposure to uranium and lung cancer at cumulative
      internal low doses; and 2) exposure to uranium and clinically significant
      kidney dysfunction.

      By law, the Secretary of VA must determine whether a presumption of service
      connection is warranted for each illness covered in the IOM report. Service
      connection is warranted if the Secretary determines a positive association
      between exposure to a biological, chemical, or other toxic agent, environmental
      or wartime hazard, or preventive medicine or vaccine known or presumed to be
      associated with service in the Persian Gulf War, and the occurrence of
      diagnosed and undiagnosed illness in humans or animals. A positive association
      under the law is considered to exist if the credible evidence for the
      association is equal to or outweighs the credible evidence against the
      association. If the Secretary of VA finds a positive association, then VA has
      the authority to grant automatic service connection for the associated illness.
      As of the date of this document, the Secretary of VA had not yet made any
      determination of positive associations for these exposure agents.

      The September 2000 IOM Report is only the first phase in what will be a lasting
      effort for Gulf War veterans. IOM reports on other Gulf War risk factors will
      follow, and the IOM and VA have a long-term commitment to study many more of
      the agents to which veterans may have been exposed. In addition, both are
      committed to issuing updated reports as new evidence appears.

      On July 31, 2001, the U.S. House of Representatives
      passed a bill (H.R. 2540), the “Veterans
      Benefits Act of 2001” by a vote of 422-0.

      Persian Gulf War Illness Compensation Act of 2001

      SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

      Congress makes the following findings

      (2) Those veterans were potentially exposed during that war to a wide range of
      biological and chemical agents, including sand, smoke from oil-well fires,
      paints, solvents, insecticides, petroleum fuels and their combustion products,
      organophosphate nerve agents, pyridostigmine bromide, depleted uranium, anthrax
      and botulinum toxoid vaccinations, and infectious diseases, in addition to
      other psychological and physiological stresses.
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