• JBLM soldier sues USA for Anthrax vaccine reaction

    By: Amy Clancy

    Updated:

    Emel Bosh was born in Turkey but for the past three years, has been willing to put her life on the line for the U.S. Army.

    Now, as a soldier stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord near Lakewood, Bosh claims to be permanently disabled because of a vaccine the Army gave her.

    "I feel so sad," Bosh recently told KIRO 7, "almost betrayed."

    The vaccine was to guard against anthrax.  For years, it was believed Saddam Hussein – former President of Iraq - created weapons of mass destruction loaded with deadly anthrax.  So for years, U-S military members have been vaccinated against the threat, including Bosh.

    However, Bosh claims the anthrax vaccine not only made her sick, it permanently disabled her, ending her military aspirations.

    Bosh never expected to be a soldier.

    Born in Turkey, the college graduate told KIRO 7 she traveled to the University of Washington in 2012 to conduct a sociology research project, but met and married Denver Bosh and decided to follow him into the Army.

    "I was so proud.  I still am proud to be an enlisted soldier," Bosh said.

    In 2016, Bosh enlisted as a chemical specialist and was hoping to go to Officer Candidate School once she became a naturalized US citizen.  With her language skills, Bosh said she hoped to be a special operations officer. However, Bosh claims her dreams of a military career were derailed beginning in December of 2017 when she was given her first anthrax vaccination.

    "I could barely walk," Bosh said of her immediate reaction.  She described her symptoms as "everything that you know about flu, but in a really fierce way."

    Bosh told KIRO 7 her reaction to the second vaccine four months later was even worse; "In addition to super flu symptoms, it was a migraine and vomiting."

    "I had to go to the E-R at Madigan" Army Medical Center at JBLM, Bosh claimed.

    Her now-former husband, Denver Bosh, said he had "never seen that much pain in her up to that point.  
    It was miserable."

    According to her federal lawsuit recently filed against the United States of America, Bosh "requested a waiver" from receiving the third vaccine claiming "significant adverse reactions." However "she was forced to take the 3rd vaccination," her complaint alleges.

    Bosh said she was told by her military and medical supervisors that her "options were, either take the
    vaccine or you're going to take Article 15 and you're going to take the uniform off.  You have to obey the orders, and this is an order."

    Bosh said she now has a permanent disability as a result of the three anthrax vaccines that makes in impossible for her to continue her military career.

    Adverse reactions to the anthrax vaccine are well-documented.  According to a General Accounting Office survey, 85% of U-S troops who received an anthrax shot claimed to suffer side effects.

    In 2004, U-S District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled the U-S military's mandatory vaccination program was "illegal" because Sullivan said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not follow proper vaccine approval procedures.  At the time, more than 1 million troop members had been vaccinated against anthrax since 1998.  Judge Sullivan also ruled that U-S troops could not be required to take the vaccine without their consent.

    Bosh's lawyer, Richard Simpson of Simpson Law PLLC in Tacoma, told KIRO 7 the legal battle over forced anthrax vaccines has already been fought and won by plaintiffs like his client.  "Already been fought, already determined to be illegal," Simpson said from his Tacoma office.  Simpson also said the 2004 case resulted in the determination that the anthrax vaccine was only going to be administered to soldiers "who were going to be deployed to high-risk areas."

    Bosh and her lawyer claim, there were no plans by JBLM to deploy her to a "high-risk" area when she was administered the anthrax vaccines.

    KIRO 7 asked a JBLM spokesperson for an on-camera interview to address the claims in Bosh's federal complaint, but those requests went unanswered by air time.

    Meanwhile, Bosh will leave the Army in September and said she understands obeying orders is part of being a solider "but it does not make sense when obeying orders, and that hierarchy is actually hurting people when there is no combat, when you're not in a combat zone."

    She added "It is sad for me to see that this is happening in the U.S. Army because this is not a good representation of the Army or the United States or the whole government."

    Now a naturalized U.S. citizen, Bosh said she still wants to serve the United States of America and is in the final stages of interviewing for a job with a federal agency she declined to identify.

    The U-S Attorney's Office in Seattle is representing the USA against Bosh's claims.  A spokesperson told 

    KIRO 7 the office is not in a position to comment about Bosh's lawsuit at this time.


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