Service members in the United States military
are required to be vaccinated against the biological warfare agent anthrax if they are deployed in regions where anthrax may be used as a weapon. To date, over 300,000 troops have received the anthrax vaccination.
Exposure to anthrax is almost always fatal within a period of days. The military contends that vaccination is necessary in order to maintain troop readiness and effectiveness. Many soldiers and medical experts, including a U.S. Army doctor, have openly questioned the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. According to the military's own statistics, up to 50% of those vaccinated experience rash and pain at the site of the injection. However, more severe reactions have been reported by a number of soldiers. According to Dr. Renate Engler, the chief of immunology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, "Potentially more than 25 individuals from same location, having received anthrax vaccinations around the same time & from same lot, there is a
growing 'belief' that anthrax has caused potentially long term, indefinite, untreatable disease." Such conditions may include certain autoimmune disorders
which as of yet are not fully understood.
A report in the May 2002 issue of Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety revealed that the anthrax vaccine was the "possible or probable" cause of pneumonia among two soldiers. Several health officials are asking the U.S. Army to investigate the anthrax vaccine's possible connection to a cluster of pneumonia cases among soldiers in Iraq.
A number of soldiers serving in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom died of blood clots that may be linked to the anthrax vaccine.
In December 2003, a U.S. district court judge issued an order prohibiting required anthrax inoculations until a trial is held in the case of six soldiers who challenged the mandatory inoculation policy. In January 2004, however, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan issued a stay of his December order after the FDA declared the vaccine was safe for use by the U.S. military. The Bush administration had asked that the stay be issued.
See your doctor if your health has significantly deteriorated after receiving the anthrax vaccine. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
- Vaccines: Overview
- Anaphylactic Shock: Overview
- Autoimmune Disorders: Overview
- Birth Defects
- Blood Clots
- Skin Disorders: Overview