Although the DHHS recently field-tested an informed consent document for parents (whose children were sought for an anthrax vaccine clinical trial in the Washington, DC public schools) it was reported that so far there were no takers. This information was stated at a public meeting held July 7 by DHHS to discuss the ethics and logistics of testing anthrax vaccine in (unsuspecting and nonconsenting) children.
How were the Washington DC public schools chosen? Aren’t 90% of students black? Was that a coincidence?
DHHS forgot that when CDC tried to push this vaccine on black Postal Service employees in 2001 there were also no takers. Fortunately, our black citizens have not forgotten the Tuskegee experiments, and ponder whether clinical trials are conducted in the black community for reasons benign or malign.
Apparently someone at the meeting suggested that perhaps this trial could be performed overseas. What an ethically interesting response to DHHS’ proposal that is. But it does speak to the question posed at the meeting by Vera Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP): Whose children will be used for this experiment?
I have been a member of the board of AHRP for 10 years. Click here to read her comments and mine, and to learn more about the meeting.