The social, political, ethical, and economic aspects of biodefense vaccines

Gregory A. Poland, Robert M. Jacobson, Jon Tilburt, Kristin Nichol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Besides natural disasters and naturally occurring novel infectious diseases, nothing potentially threatens the health and stability of nations and health systems as much as the devastating threat and unfathomability of bioterrorism. Other than attempts at political solutions and interdictive attempts, only antimicrobials and vaccines offer possible means for protection. Of these, vaccines offer the most immediate and definitive of preventive solutions. Limiting the development and use of vaccines however are social, political, ethical, and economic considerations, and this article will provide a brief exploration of each of these issues and the intersection with the need for such vaccines. In this article we define bioterrorism as the deliberate use of naturally occurring or bioengineered microorganisms in order to cause harm to people, animals, or plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)D23-D27
Issue numberSUPPL. 4
StatePublished - Nov 5 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Tilburt is supported by Grant Number 1 KL2 RR024151 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) . Dr. Poland provides consultative advice to Emergent BioSolutions. Drs. Poland and Jacobson are funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct a clinical trial of anthrax vaccine adsorbed ( CDC-AVA000 ), and by the NIH to examine genetic associations with smallpox vaccine response in humans ( NIH-N01-AI40065 ).


  • Anthrax vaccine
  • Biodefense
  • Bioterrorism
  • Smallpox vaccine


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