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While the Pentagon has tied the sudden death of a 22-year-old Army medic weeks
after receiving a series of vaccinations to those immunizations, officials have failed to speak to the implications the link holds for a rash of
mysterious pneumonia cases reported among U.S. troops deployed to
Southwest Asia since March.
reported Army Spc. Rachael Lacy of Lynwood, Ill., died at the Mayo
Clinic in Rochester, Minn., April 4 after being diagnosed by one doctor as
having pneumonia. The woman received smallpox, typhoid, anthrax, hepatitis
B and measles-mumps-rubella vaccines March 2 at Fort McCoy, Wis., where
she and her unit were preparing for overseas deployment.
Lacy’s father, Moses Lacy, told the Army Times his daughter had called in
March and said she had chest pains and breathing problems and had been
diagnosed with pneumonia. He suspected the vaccines were the cause.
Minnesota coroner Eric Pfeifer told the paper he believed the smallpox and
anthrax vaccines “may have” contributed to her death and listed “post-vaccine”
problems on Lacy’s death certificate.
“It’s just very suspicious in my mind,” Pfeifer said. “She’s healthy, gets the
vaccinations and then dies a couple weeks later.”
The Pentagon now reports Lacy died of “a severe inflammatory process
affecting her lungs,” which it said was “consistent with a diagnosis of systemic
lupus,” although she had never shown symptoms of the autoimmune disorder
and she and her physicians were unaware she had the underlying condition.
Two panels of civilian medical experts that looked into Lacy’s
death at the request of the Pentagon concluded the vaccinations apparently
triggered a flare-up of the disorder.
Both panels stopped short of stating the vaccines caused Lacy’s death.
While the first panel, the Smallpox Vaccine Safety Working Group – a joint
subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the
Armed Forces Epidemiological Board – concluded the evidence “favors”
causality between the vaccinations and Lacy’s death, members on the second
panel – the Clinical Expert Immunization Committee – failed to reach a
Three members determined the vaccines were the “possible” cause, while
two members thought they were the “probable” cause. No specific vaccine
“It is important for us to acknowledge the possibility of an association
between vaccination and the illness that led to the death of Spc. Lacy,”
said Dr. William Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of defense for health
affairs. “We pledged when we began the military vaccination programs to bring
the best science to bear in monitoring adverse events after vaccination, and
with these reports we are doing this.”
“We extend our sympathy to the Lacy family and our appreciation for her
service. Spc. Lacy was a valuable member of her unit. She died serving
her country,” Winkenwerder added.
Moses Lacy told the Associated Press he’s glad the Pentagon is finally
reporting the truth about his daughter’s death and hopes it prompts more
“They should at least look more closely into problems associated with
vaccines as it relates to people having adverse reactions,” he said.
Defense Department officials portrayed Lacy’s death as rare and said the Pentagon’s vaccination program will not be changed as a result. More than 900,000 service members have received the anthrax vaccine and
some 500,000 have rolled up their sleeves for the smallpox shot in the past
Officials did question the practice of administering the multiple vaccines back-to-back.
“Though it appears no screening procedure could have averted her illness, we have asked our advisory panel to evaluate the practice of simultaneous vaccinations,” said Winkenwerder.
WorldNetDaily has reported British soldiers filed suit against their Ministry of Defense to seek justice for “vaccine overload.” They’re convinced the set of vaccinations they received before shipping out to Iraq last spring are behind the depression, breathing problems and eczema they’re suffering from.
The Pentagon reports the advisory panels looked into the deaths of three other soldiers and found they were not related to the vaccinations. Their names are being withheld for privacy reasons.
Given the fact that Lacy went to the Mayo Clinic suffering from
pneumonia, her death may hold implications for the ongoing Army probe of
more than 100 cases of pneumonia among troops deployed to Southwest Asia
– including Iraq, Kuwait, Djibouti, Uzbekistan and Qatar – reported since
March. Nineteen of the cases were severe enough to warrant ventilators. Two
of those died – one man and one woman. The 19 service members were all deployed to Central Command.
In July, the Army surgeon general dispatched two
epidemiological-consultation teams to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in
Germany and Iraq to primarily study the 17 serious cases. Investigators say
they found no evidence of anthrax, smallpox or any other biological weapons
and ruled out SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, and the bacteria
that causes Legionnaires’ Disease. In addition, there isn’t any evidence of an infectious agent common to all of the cases, according to investigators.
In September, Army officials announced the Centers for Disease Control
was working on the investigation, “validating” lab work done by the Army and
reviewing cases at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.
Officials also revealed some of the cases showed signs of Eosinophilla.
Eosinophils are white blood cells known to fight certain infections.
Jaime Cavazos, the spokesman for the Army Medical Command, told
WorldNetDaily no conclusions have yet been reached as to the cause of the
When queried about the soldiers’ mandatory vaccinations, defense
officials said in August they would also look into whether there was a link between them and the pneumonia.
reported a link was previously found between the pneumonia and the anthrax vaccine. A government-sponsored study published in May 2002 concluded the anthrax vaccine was the “possible or probable” cause of pneumonia in two soldiers.
Lacy’s death was not included in the mystery pneumonia
cases cited by the Defense Department back in August ostensibly because
she died prior to being deployed.
When asked whether the panels’ conclusion about her death will factor into the ongoing probe into the pneumonia cases, Defense spokesman Jim Turner told WorldNetDaily: “The pneumonia cases are unrelated to the work of these panels.”
U.S. troop deaths?