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Heavy metal band to fight anthrax vaccine

PBR Staff Writer Published 01 April 2005

In a move that combines music, healthcare and politics, the twice Grammy-nominated heavy metal band Anthrax is to hold a press conference to speak out against the US government's military use of BioPort's BioThrax anthrax vaccine.

In taking a public stand against the military's investigational anthrax vaccine, the band makes it possible to reach huge numbers of the general public to inform them about what the Military Vaccine Education Center describes as, "the incredible damage inflicted on members of the armed services who were forced to take this experimental drug" and "the danger it now poses to the civilian population under the auspices of the BioShield Act." The vaccine label estimates a systemic reaction rate of up to 35%, but the Government Accountability Office issued a report estimating that this rate could be as high as 85%. Systemic reactions to the vaccine have included severe bone and joint pain, skin lesions and infections, continual migraine headaches, tumors and cysts, blackouts and seizures and heart problems. Reactions have also included illnesses such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, and Guillain-Barre syndrome, and even death. "Because of this band, and their incredible reach and popularity, we know that we'll finally get the full message out there," said Kathy Hubbell, president of the Military Vaccine Education Center. "Our troops have been used as medical guinea pigs, something Congress recognized clear back in 1994. With the help of the Anthrax band, perhaps people will finally become outraged; perhaps it will finally be clear that every single person in this country is in danger of having this vaccine - this highly reactive, dangerous, untested drug - forced upon him or her." Other speakers at the press conference include representatives from the Military Vaccine Education Center, the National Vaccine Information Center, the Alliance for Human Research Protection and the National Coalition of Organized Women. "Heavy metal music was born out of non-conformity to socially accepted structure. Therefore our roots are seeded in the belief that we must challenge structure as it is based on past viewpoints imposed on the future," said Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. "With respect to the anthrax vaccine," he continued, "it is our responsibility as ‘keepers of the faith’ of heavy metal music to stay true to core belief and challenge Project BioShield - a legislative act that authorizes the mandated use of untested and unapproved vaccines on our soldiers making them in essence first line guinea pigs for the biopharmaceutical industry."