HL Deb 30 March 2001 vol 624 c70WA
The Countess of Mar

asked Her Majesty's Government

How many of the vaccines given to members of HM Armed Forces prior to and during Operation Granby were developed on bovine cultures. [HL 1031]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of N'ernham Dean)

UK Service Personnel received immunisations against the potential biological warfare agents plague and anthrax ('with Pertussis as an adjuvant), and some public health immunisations in the build-up to, and during, the 1990-91 Gulf conflict. The Department of Health is responsible for issues connected with UK licensed public-health immunisations and they have undertaken to review the available information regarding the manufacture of the public health vaccines given to personnel at that time in parallel with an MoD review of the non-UK licensed vaccines. I will write to the noble Countess setting out the conclusions and such information as is available, and will place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

The manufacture of both the anthrax vaccine and the US-produced plague vaccine offered to personnel during the 1990-91 Gulf Conflict involved the use of materials of bovine origin. The manufacture of the anthrax vaccine complied with the UK regulations and guidance that applied at the time concerning the use of such materials in medicinal products.

Further details on the vaccines administered under the anti-Biological Warfare immunisation programme were published in October 1997, in the paper Background to the use of medical countermeasures to protect British Forces during the Gulf War ( Operation GRANBY), a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.