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British troops to be vaccinated against anthrax poisoning

Thousands of British soldiers are to be vaccinated against anthrax poisoning in a direct response to the recent nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

The announcement is part of a range of measures that will be announced by the Defence Secretary on Thursday, including £48m that will be invested to create a "cutting-edge" Chemical Weapons Defence Centre at Porton Down in Wiltshire.

"If we doubted the threat Russia poses to our citizens, we only have to look at the shocking example of their reckless attack in Salisbury," Gavin Williamson will say in a speech later.

"We know the chemical threat doesn't just come from Russia but from others.

"I made the decision to offer the anthrax vaccine to our high-readiness forces providing them with vital protection against a deadly danger."

Earlier in the week, senior MOD officials admitted that the military's chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) capabilities have been "overlooked" in recent years and will almost certainly receive more funding as a result of the ongoing defence review.

The Army's dedicated CBRN regiment was stood down in 2012, a move critics have dismissed as short-sighted.


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