An Army review board ruled it would be unethical to give soldiers heading to the Persian Gulf War an experimental vaccine without warning them that the effects were unknown, the Plain Dealer reported Sunday.
But that ruling was overridden after the Defense Department cited national security concerns, the Cleveland newspaper said.
The botulinum toxoid vaccine was given to 8,000 troops as protection against chemical and biological warfare. The soldiers were not told the vaccine, now being studied as a possible source of the variety of health problems known as Gulf War syndrome, was unlicensed.
The mysterious ailment afflicts 80,000 veterans and civilians who were involved in the Gulf War.
Some think the syndrome stems from a chemical or biological attack. Others link the illness to diseases in the Middle East or to smoke from oil fires.