The phrase "safe and effective" is frequently used in regards to vaccination. An increasing number of vaccines is "recommended" (in a mandatory sort of way) for an ever larger number of people by the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) own Advisory Committe on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
Last week more than 80 people who work at the CDC in Atlanta were possibly exposed to Anthrax. It's unknown how many of this group may already have been vaccinated against anthrax, but 27 of them were vaccinated (in addition to taking antibiotics) in an attempt to reduce their risk of actually becoming ill. Fortunately, no one seems to have come down with
any form of the illness, and hopefully no one will.
In reviewing the CDC's own statement about this unintentional exposure of their lab personnel to anthrax, it is surprising that there is no affirmation indicating said personnel were already vaccinated against the pathogen with which they were working.
It seems that vaccination against anthrax is not mandatory for at least some of those who are involved in actually working with live cultures of this bacteria. Why? After all, vaccines are "safe and effective" and there is an anthrax vaccine available. Why? This is the very agency whose recommendations for all manner of vaccines is taken as gospel truth and implemented with the force of law. Many people are unable to keep their jobs or go to school unless they are vaccinated against a variety of pathogens - yet it seems that at least some of the people who are actually handling (and thus at higher risk of exposure ... as clearly demonstrated by recent events) are not vaccinated against the very germ to which they are at risk of exposure? Huh? Many in the military are not at such direct risk of exposure, yet are required to be vaccinated against anthrax - and the package insert states that yearly "booster" shots are necessary.
Perhaps those working in the lab involved with this incident were given the choice to decide for themselves which risk/benefit ratio they were willing to accept (either when they began working in the lab or when this risk of contamination was discovered) - if only this were the case for all.