Anthrax vaccine as a component of the strategic national stockpile: a dilemma for Homeland Security
Rempfer, Thomas L.
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The author explains how past problems with the Defense Department anthrax vaccine currently affect Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services policy. The departments included the BioThraxÂ® anthrax vaccine in the Strategic National Stockpile following the 2001 anthrax letter attacks. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the vaccine's "failing" status possibly motivated the letter attacks to create demand for the vaccine. This thesis explores the Department of Defense's troubled experience with the vaccine through four methodologies. The multiprism methodological approach of "quadrangulation" serves to "box" in past safety, efficacy, regulatory, and legal problems. A literature review demonstrates an evolving shift in critiques of the vaccine, which parallels policy pronouncements. A case study tool offers a chronological review of the anthrax vaccine to evaluate causal events precipitating the anthrax letter attacks in 2001. A program evaluation includes process tracing through quantitative, qualitative, summative, and formative reviews. Finally, a gap analysis aids in explaining continued reliance on the old vaccine technology. To conclude, the thesis recommendations encourage formulation of a Presidential Study and Policy Directive process to reassess the vaccine, while suggesting alternative Department of Homeland Security policy courses of actions centered on antibiotics and new technologies.
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