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Anthrax Vaccine

Anthrax Vaccine

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Service members may receive the anthrax vaccine prior to deployment to protect them from anthrax disease, a serious disease caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis which can be found in infected animals, wool, meat or animal hides or may be released into the air as a biological weapon.

The anthrax vaccine is the best way to protect service members from the anthrax disease. All vaccines may cause some adverse reactions. However, the risks of having an adverse reaction associated with the anthrax vaccine are far less than the risk of acquiring the anthrax disease. Many of the anthrax side effects are mild and resolve within 24 hours.

Side effects of the anthrax vaccine localized to the site may include:

  • Tenderness, soreness and redness at the site of the injection
  • Transient low-grade fever
  • Muscle aches and/or Mild Pains

Signs of a serious allergic reaction may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hoarseness
  • Wheezing
  • Hives
  • Paleness
  • Weakness
  • Fast heart beat
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of Consciousness

A serious allergic reaction would be noticed within a few minutes to an hour after the shot and requires immediate attention.

At this time, research has not shown any long term adverse health effects related to the anthrax vaccine.

If you are concerned about side effects related to the anthrax vaccine, the Department of Defense has an Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program* to address these health concerns.

*Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.