98219. Vaccine is Safe, Cohen Assures Troops
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Anthrax vaccinations are safe,
Defense Secretary William S. Cohen assured service members here
"Please don't listen to any scare stories," Cohen told about
300 service members. "We had an outside expert make sure that we
validated the supply itself -- the safety, the potency of the
vaccine. We are all satisfied that it is completely safe, and it
is something important for everyone to have."
Cohen addressed American active duty and reserve component
service members here during the second stop of a five-day trip to
Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Greece, April 17 to 21.
Cohen visited coalition forces supporting Operation Northern
Watch. About 1,300 U.S., 200 British and 100 Turkish troops
deployed here enforce the northern "no-fly" zone in Iraq.
Following a brief address to the troops, Cohen brought up
the need for anthrax vaccinations during a question and answer
session. He said press reports indicated several service members
were upset about the fact that they had to receive the
"[Army] Gen. [Hugh] Shelton, [chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff,] and I were first in line to receive our shots," the
defense secretary said. "I've had three now. I can attest, and my
wife, Janet, can attest, there have been no known side effects at
Anthrax vaccinations are a force protection measure,
designed to safeguard American troops, Cohen stressed. "It's
important that the program go forward as expeditiously as
possible. Everyone will be vaccinated against this threat, and we
hope to have it completed as soon as we can," he said.