Marine Speaks On Anthrax Fears

Lance Cpl. Jason Stark is the first San Diego-based Marine to go public with his reasons for refusing the anthrax vaccine. On Tuesday, he held a news conference, then turned himself in to base authorities, reports Correspondent Gail Stewart of CBS News Affiliate KFMB-TV in San Diego.

Not only has the 21-year-old Pendleton Marine refused to take the anthrax vaccine, but he has also been on unauthorized leave since he was informed more than two months ago that his unit was about to get the preventative shot.

"The risk involved was too high a risk for me, to risk my health and the future risk possibly of my family," Stark said.

Although more than 12,000 Marines have submitted to the anthrax vaccine, more and more are questioning the safety of the shots.

The vaccine was widely used during the Persian Gulf War, but the military failed to keep accurate records then, which could have helped allay fears today.

"There is no decent record-keeping, there is no way of knowing what the impact of those 130,000 plus immunizations was," says Dr. Victor Sidel, a public health specialist. "This is a military record that in my view is absolutely criminal."

Stark, along with his attorney, mother and family arrived at the Miramar Base Marine Corps station to turn himself in after refusing to take the anthrax vaccine.

It's too early to tell what charges he will face, but more than likely he will be court-martialed.

"He'll be taken into custody here, processed and then be transferred to Camp Pendleton," said Miramar Base spokesman Maj. Stephen Kaye.

Stark's family says it supports him 100 percent, and his mother urges others to express their concerns about the vaccine.

"He signed up to defend the Constitution of our country. All Americans need to ask the same questions he's asking," says Janean Stark.

Reported By Gail Stewart