Bad Watchdog Season 2 launches June 20.

Is the Department of Defense (DoD) underreporting adverse neurological effects from smallpox vaccine? Merrill Goozner of the Center for Science in the Public Interest thinks that's the case. It looks like he might be onto something.

A recent study using results from the Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System found that Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) employees accounted for over half the adverse effects reports, while DoD employees were cited as suffering from slighly less than half--despite the fact that about 9 times as many DoD employees than HHS employess were administered the smallpox vaccine.

From the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) abstract of "Neurologic Adverse Events Associated With Smallpox Vaccination in the United States, 2002-2004" (Vol. 294 No. 21, December 7, 2005):

Design and Setting We assessed reports of adverse events obtained through active case reporting and review of data reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System among 665 000 persons vaccinated against smallpox by the Departments of Defense (n = 590 400) and Health and Human Services (n = 64 600) during the 2002-2004 US Smallpox Vaccination Program.


Results Between December 16, 2002, and March 11, 2004, 214 neurologic adverse events temporally associated with smallpox vaccination were reported; 111 reports involved Department of Health and Human Services and 103 involved Department of Defense vaccinees.

The smallpox vaccine has been controversial, as has the anthrax vaccine.

This summer POGO discovered a "missing link" to anthrax vaccine adverse effects information that was removed from a Food and Drug Administration webpage.

The anthrax vaccine in question has been used by the DoD to inoculate troops. Recently up to half of troops asked to take the anthrax vaccine have refused it and some sources have told POGO that the military has been underreporting adverse effects from the anthrax vaccine. According to a series on the anthrax vaccine in the Daily Press, the military has withheld data on "more than 20,000 hospitalizations involving troops who'd taken the anthrax vaccine."