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Last Updated

05 Nov 2002

Blocking Anthrax Infection with a Vaccine

Click on section to read how anthrax vaccine protects.

Short-term Side Effects

The vaccine may cause soreness, redness, itching, swelling and lumps at the injection site. Between 5% and 35% of people will notice muscle aches, joint aches, headaches, rash, chills, fever, nausea, loss of appetite, malaise or related which usually go away after a few days. Serious side effects requiring hospitalization are rare, occurring in one per 200,000 doses.

Long-term side effects

There are no known long-term side effects. Thousands of laboratory workers received anthrax vaccine for 10 or more years in a row without adverse effects. Some doctors, however, suspect the vaccine may have more side effects in some cases.

Who gets vaccinated

The vaccine has been administered in the U.S. to at-risk veterinary and laboratory workers, livestock handlers and members of the military since 1970.

The scheduled dosage

Three doses of 0.5 milliliters at two-week intervals, followed by three additional doses six, 12, and 18 months after the first dose.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2001.