Legion criticises results of Gulf war illness study


The Royal British Legion attacked the Government yesterday over the results of research into the "Gulf war illness".

The legion said Gulf veterans and their families were insulted by Derek Twigg, the veterans minister, who claimed that research funded by the MoD showed that vaccines were not to blame.

It also criticised the MoD for spending £4.5 million, more than half the £8.5 million budget for research into the illnesses, on a study which "effectively tells veterans nothing of value".

Announcing the end of a nine-year programme of research, Mr Twigg claimed that it proved that Gulf war veterans could not have suffered adverse effects from the vaccines they received.

Doubts about the decision to give Gulf war servicemen whooping cough vaccine to speed up the effects of an anthrax vaccine emerged two years ago.

The MoD admitted that in tests shortly before the 1991 Gulf war, mice given the same combination of vaccinations administered to troops suffered serious side-effects.

When the two were given to the mice together "there was evidence of severe loss of condition and weight".

The MoD also admitted that while the anthrax vaccine was licensed in the UK, the whooping cough vaccine was "not recommended for use in adults".

The new research, carried out on marmosets, looked at the use of the various vaccines used in the Gulf war but used safe combinations and dosages in laboratory conditions.

However, it did not try to replicate the combinations given to individual Gulf war veterans.



The Legion now have it on their site:
The Royal British Legion has reacted strongly to claims from the Minister for Veterans that the end of the Vaccines Interactions Programme, which showed no evidence of adverse health effects, should address the health concerns of sick veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf Conflict.

The Legion has questioned the Minister’s conclusions, as the research was never intended to replicate the experiences of troops in the Gulf, but as a means of justifying current medical countermeasures.

The Legion’s Director General, David Wills says “The Minister is effectively telling people who have been left in broken health by their service that there was no problem with the vaccines or *NAPs tablets that they were given, because marmosets and mice had no adverse reactions when administered. This is yet another insult to Gulf Veterans and their families who are no clearer about the causes of their medically unexplained illnesses.

“This research, which we have waited nine years for, and which has consumed more than half of the £8.5 million budget of the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Gulf illness research programme, effectively tells veterans nothing of value. This is the last commissioned piece of work being conducted in the UK into the cause of Gulf War illnesses, as the Medical Research Council and the MoD seem to be in agreement that ‘all potential hazards have now been investigated in sufficient detail’.

“We continue to call for further UK research, involving ill Gulf Veterans, which seeks to find effective diagnosis and treatments. We also believe further compensation is necessary to bring closure to the 16 year struggle of Gulf Veterans in failing health.”
The Legion also points to a recent United States Department of Veterans Affairs announcement of an additional US$75 million (£40 million UK) commitment to research into the causes of and possible treatments for Gulf War illnesses. This remains as the only credible programme, and yet it continues to be ignored by the UK Government.

Around than 2,290 UK Gulf Veterans are in receipt of a War Disablement Pension for illnesses arising from their service and 2235 have received a gratuity. There are also around 2000 civil compensation claims pending new evidence on the causes of Gulf War illnesses.



Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I read recently that a lad who didn't deploy to GRANBY - but who received all the vaccines (he was stood up to deploy) - is now receiving a pension from MoD because his health was shafted as a result.

I'll try and dig out a link.

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