Not vaccinated - yet. I would prefer to escape unvaccinated (no fears, just sore arms & hassles), but 2004 is probably too far off to make it.
If I came up on list to deploy to Korea or SWA (current acronym for SouthWest Asia = Saudi/Kuwait), I would start the series ASAP. I have no illusions about my fate (court-martial, hard time, loss of medical privileges - they would make an example of me) if I tried to weasel out of a deployment by refusing to take a mandatory vaccine, and I would deserve everything that I got.
One might think that medical types would be well-informed enough to preclude the ULish rumor-induced paranoia that affects non-medical types. Not so. From my perspective, docs, nurses, medics, etc. seem more likely to believe some of the hogwash out there than the infantry types. They are also less likely to follow orders just because, and consider themselves (OK, ourselves) as Hawkeye wannabe’s…
I am not brain-washed, either. There have been reactions, mostly mild, but a few have been serious. But I can’t take care of soldiers if I’m dead or if I’m seriously ill because I didn’t take the vaccine and weapons-grade anthrax spores are released. Other docs can’t take care of as many other soldiers if they are having to take care of me. I will get the shots when the time comes.
A low number of troops have completed the primary series. These troops were in high-risk areas (Korea/SWA), and have continued the series after returning to the states. In order to keep a large stockpile for contingincies, troops are only beginning the series if/when they they or teir uit comes down on orders for a high risk area. But once you’ve begun the series, the Army will track you down to make sure you complete it on schedule, even if you’re in the Reserves.
The Army, and DoD have learned some hard lessons from the Gulf War & its aftermath. A vaccine against Hantavirus was OPTIONAL for troops at low risk of Hantavirus exposure in Bosnia. The current policy on anthrax was decided upon after a good deal of consideration, and has not changed in the 2 or 3 years since the program was announced. I don’t have all the information to assess how serious the threat is, but have to have some faith in the people who do in order to work where I do.
None of the above should be mistaken for official DoD policy; it is my personal opinion.
Sue from El Paso