VADM Chris Ritchie, AO, RAN, (Chief of Naval Staff), released a signal to the RAN concerning the safety of Anthrax injections issued to RAN personnel who were involved in the 2nd Gulf War in 2003. VADM Ritchie advised “no long term side affects have been observed and there is no real reason to believe the vaccine is not safe”. Issue of the vaccine had been cancelled in late November 2001 when a number of SAS personnel, (being deployed to Afghanistan), had adverse reactions, but this information was not made public until early 2004. When vaccinations recommenced in early 2003, some 97 personnel serving in HMAS DARWIN, (frigate), suffered from a reaction to the vaccine which was well in excess of the 3% average expected. Additionally about 30 personnel serving in RAN ships deployed to the Arabian Gulf refused to have the vaccination, and were removed from their ships and returned to Australia. Similarly the USN had also cancelled Anthrax vaccinations during 2001-2002 due to concerns about the safety of the vaccine.
You are here: / / Australian Naval History on 24 February 2004