Court asks for Defense Ministry comment on anthrax shot report

Comes after IMA committee investigates vaccination of 700 soldier "guinea pigs."

February 18, 2009 22:41
Court asks for Defense Ministry comment on anthrax shot report

soldiers wait for doctor 248.88. (photo credit: IDF)

The High Court of Justice decided Wednesday to send to the Defense Ministry for comment the Israel Medical Association (IMA) committee report that investigated the vaccination of 700 soldier "guinea pigs" with an anthrax vaccine to determine side effects. The State Attorney's Office, which is representing the ministry, will have to respond within 14 days why it thinks publication of the report would "endanger national security." The story was initially disclosed by Ilana Dayan's Uvda program in 2007, after she received complaints from soldiers involved in the experiment several years ago who claimed to suffer from side effects that affected various systems in their bodies. The IDF's then-surgeon general Dr. Chezy Levy asked the IMA to study the matter by establishing a voluntary committee of experts, which was headed by Prof. Reuven Porat, chief of internal medicine at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. The committee members heard testimony from hundreds of soldiers who had been vaccinated, allegedly without being warned about possible side effects. IMA ethics bureau head Prof. Avinoam Reches, who named the committee, said he hoped the court's move would lead to publication of the important 100-page report because the public "should be aware of it at the earliest opportunity."

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