HC Deb 08 March 2001 vol 364 cc285-6W
Mr. Hendrick

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to resume the programme of voluntary immunisation against anthrax for armed forces personnel deployed to the Gulf. [153378]

Mr. Spellar

We plan to resume the anthrax immunisation programme for personnel deployed on operations to the Gulf shortly. Immunisation was last offered in 1998, but had to be suspended due to manufacturing difficulties at our supplier. We have now received the first new supplies of licensed anthrax vaccine and will be in a position to resume the voluntary immunisation programme in April.

Anthrax immunisation is safe and effective. As in 1998, it will be offered to personnel on the basis of voluntary informed consent. By accepting it alongside other defensive measures, armed forces personnel will have the very best protection possible against anthrax used as a biological weapon.