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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 

April 18.  

	"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 

this time."

	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.