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Gulf War (Vaccines)

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether members of the armed forces serving in the Gulf will be given similarly-based vaccines to those used in the first Gulf War; and if he will cease the use of depleted uranium shells. [108977]

United Kingdom Service personnel are offered a range of immunisations to protect against disease. These include standard Service immunisations, immunisations for deployment to areas with specific health hazards, immunisations to help protect personnel against the effects of biological weapons, and immunisations for personnel in specific occupational or 'at risk' groups. The table shows the complete list of vaccines offered for Operation GRANBY (the 1990–1991 Gulf Conflict) and today. Other immunisations may have been and continue to be offered on the basis of clinical need. we have no plans to cease their use.


Position during operation GRANBY

Current Position

TetanusOffered to all personnel, administered with typhoid vaccine as one combined immunizationOffered to all personnel. May be administered with diphtheria vaccine as one combined immunization if both are required.
DiphtheriaOffered to all non-immune personnelOffered to all non-immune personnel. May be administered with tetanus vaccine as one combined immunisation if both required.
Hepatitis AUnavailable. Certain occupational groups, such as those handling food and water supplies, may have been offered a Gamma Globulin immunization. MOD is aware of one individual who was part of a medical unit that served in Operation GRANBY who is recorded as having received Gamma GlobulinHepatitis A vaccine now available and is offered to all regular personnel and mobilized reservists. It may be given with typhoid as a single combined vaccine if both required.
Yellow FeverOffered routinely to Servicemen Servicewomen were only to be immunized if they were traveling to a region where yellow fever was endemic. However, MOD is aware of records for Servicewomen who served with a unit that deployed to the Gulf as routinely receiving yellow fever immunisation.All regular personnel immunised on joining the Armed Forces with re-immunised on joining the Armed Forces with re-immunisations every 10 years. Reserve personnel are offered immunisation if mobilised.
CholeraOffered to all personnel deployingNot offered—no longer recommended by World Health Organisation.
PlagueOffered to all personnel deployingNot offered.
AnthraxOffered to all personnel deployingBeing rolled out as a routine immunisation for all UK personnel.
PertussisOffered as adjuvant for anthrax vaccine to all personnel deployingNot offered
RabiesNot specifically offered to personnel deploying on Op GRANBYOffered to personnel who work with animals, including dog handlers and veterinarians
Hepatitis BOffered to medical personnelOffered to medical personnel and those at occupational risk of exposure to blood borne viruses.
RubellaNot specifically offered to personnel deploying Op GRANBYOffered to non-immune females to enhance protection and to non-immune health care workers to prevent transmission to patients.
SmallpoxRoutine vaccination of UK Service personnel against smallpox ceased in the early 1980s. There some Service personnel who participated in Operation GRANBY could have been vaccinated against smallpox earlier in their careers. MOD is aware of one member of the Armed Forces who served in the 1990-1991 Gulf Conflict who was vaccinated against smallpox in January 1991 by private arrangement.Being rolled out to a cohort including Nuclear, Chemical and Biological specialists and certain medical personnel, including some who have deployed to the Gulf region.