You may have not heard about the anthrax vaccine, but it’s something you’ve potentially been exposed to, you should be aware of what it is and what potential side effects it has. Anthrax is a spore-forming bacteria, and it’s often used as a chemical weapon by terrorist groups and sometimes state actors. Anthrax can be potentially lethal when ingested, and even mild effects include painful sores and lesions.
The anthrax vaccine was developed to reduce the risk of danger from exposure to anthrax, and that means that it’s usually distributed in a very limited capacity and only to those who are potentially at risk for anthrax exposure. Whether you’re considering getting the anthrax vaccine or you’ve been exposed to it in the past, you need to understand the specifics.
What Does the CDC Recommend?
The CDC doesn’t recommend that most people take the vaccine, and the fact is that most people won’t ever be exposed to it. Most often, the anthrax vaccine is prescribed as a preventative measure. Anthrax is recommended and sometimes required for people who work in the farming industry and in specific laboratories where employees might come in contact with anthrax. The anthrax vaccine is also recommended for those who might have already come in contact with anthrax – primarily those who might have been exposed to it during a terror attack.
But the largest group exposed to the anthrax vaccine are military service members and former military service members. The anthrax vaccine was mandatory for all members of the American military service from 1998 until 2004. But the program was eventually discontinued due to a number of different controversies surrounding it.
What Controversies Are There Surrounding the Vaccine?
When the anthrax vaccine was first required for service members by President Clinton in 1998, there were plenty of questions about its safety and the legitimacy of requiring vaccinations. A service member was court-martialed in 1999 for refusing to take the vaccine. In 2001, they’d receive some level of vindication thanks to the filing of an FDA Citizen Petition arguing that the BioThrax vaccine was never formally approved by the FDA.
But the program continued, with some arguing that it was a necessity in the wake of 2001’s anthrax attacks and in the leadup to the Iraq War. But questions continued to persist about the legitimacy of the vaccine, and military regulations regarding its use for all personnel have wavered and encountered multiple legal challenges over the years.
What Side Effects Are There?
As the original service members who received the vaccine begin to age, we’re starting to understand the full extent of side effects from the anthrax vaccine. The vaccination itself is painful, and short term side effects include fatigue, muscle pain, and tenderness. The CDC only recommends it for those aged 18 to 65, and there’s a whole list of existing conditions that can preclude vaccination.
But more and more veterans are experiencing long term and potentially crippling side effects from the vaccine. These can include irregular heartbeat and associated cardiac problems as well as respiratory issues. Many veterans deal with recurring dizziness from the vaccine and swelling around the lips and the throat?
What Should You Do?
If you’re experiencing side effects that might derive from an anthrax vaccine, or you’re being asked to take one and have your doubts, you should speak with legal counsel. Multiple vaccines have been employed over the years, and you may only know of a fraction of the effects it might have caused. You deserve to understand the impact an anthrax vaccine has had on your body and the forms of recourse that are available to you.