Should the anthrax vaccine be tested in children? It will be a while longer before the government decides.
An advisory board said Friday that ethical issues need to be resolved — but if that can be accomplished the vaccine can be tested in children to be sure it's safe and to learn the proper dose in case it's needed in a terrorist attack.
Because of concerns that terrorists might use the potentially deadly bacteria, the government has stockpiled the vaccine. It has been widely tested on adults but never on children.
The question is whether to do tests so doctors will know if children's immune systems respond to the shots well enough to signal protection. The children would not be exposed to anthrax.
The National Biodefense Science Board said Friday a separate review board should look into the ethical issues of doing such tests in children. If that is completed successfully, the panel, said, the Department of Health and Human Services should develop a plan for a study of the vaccine in children.