Is the death of NBC News correspondent David Bloom during Operation Iraqi Freedom the result of a vaccination he received before the war?
That question is being raised in connection with a CBS News report which says the federal government is doing a sudden about-face and will let states stop administering the high-risk smallpox shot.
The 39-year-old Bloom, who was embedded with the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division outside Baghdad and co-anchor of the ”Today” show weekend editions, died of an apparent blood clot several weeks after getting both the smallpox and anthrax vaccines.
In the days before the fighting began, the U.S. government was rushing to inoculate a half-million health care workers to help in the event of any bio-terror attack. So far, only 35,000 of the targeted workers have been vaccinated.
As WorldNetDaily reported, just after President Bush outlined his plan to take a pre-emptive strike against the possibility that terrorists would use smallpox as their next weapon of choice against Americans, many emergency medical providers refused to participate amid the risk of side effects and the threat of liability issues.
“This is a toxic vaccine. We should only use it in people who need it,” Dr. Brian Strom of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine told CBS. “And we need a few weeks or months to just step back and say let’s replan the plans to see how many people need to get the vaccine before we continue on with it.”
Smallpox is a deadly but preventable disease. Most Americans who are 34 or older had a smallpox vaccination when they were children. By 1972, the risk of smallpox was so remote that routine vaccinations were discontinued in the United States.
The smallpox plan for troops came as the government weathered controversy over its anthrax
previously reported by WND, hundreds of military personnel refused that mandatory vaccine. This after some 100,000 Persian Gulf War veterans got sick with a still-unexplained syndrome many suspect has to do with vaccines they were given and the possible exposure to chemical or biological agents.
According to the CBS report, an aggressive surveillance program designed to detect dangerous trends recently uncovered one: 11 cases of unusual heart inflammation among military troops who got the smallpox vaccine; three civilian deaths are also under investigation.
But Bloom’s death was not counted among the vaccine-related fatalities, though it should have been, says Strom, since the reporter had the smallpox shot and died within a period of weeks.
Bloom among ‘embedded’ reporters
It’s possible Bloom’s case went mistakenly uncounted since private citizens are monitored by a civilian system, while troops are tracked by the military. It remains unclear who – if anyone – is monitoring the hundreds of civilian journalists who embedded with U.S. forces.
Bloom’s case would make four deaths under investigation for a possible link to the smallpox vaccine.
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