Anthrax Vaccine Presumption - VDBC meeting Jan 19, 20 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
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 IOMs
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
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
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.