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Judge eases anthrax vaccine order

WASHINGTON, April 6 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Washington Wednesday ruled the military can administer anthrax vaccine on a voluntary basis to service members under certain conditions.

In October, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order permanently barring the Pentagon's anthrax vaccine program. He ruled the vaccine had not been classified by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective for that use -- unless the president waived that requirement for the vaccine.

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The Pentagon filed a new motion insisting there were other conditions under which the program could proceed, and the judge agreed, modifying his earlier order.

"Congress appears to have authorized the use of (FDA) unapproved drugs ... based upon a declaration of (military) emergency" from the Health and Human Services and Defense departments, Sullivan said.

The judge said the Defense Department may administer the vaccine on a voluntary basis following a lawful emergency use authorization.

Sullivan said his ruling "makes no finding as to the lawfulness of any specific (emergency use authorization) that has been or may be approved by the Department of Health and Human Services."

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