Anthrax Vaccine Side Effects, Purpose, and Safety

Anthrax Vaccine Side Effects, Purpose, and Safety
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Anthrax is an infectious disease that can be life-threatening. In recent years, its existence became popular as a form of biological warfare or through being spread as a terrorist attack. When humans come into contact with anthrax or animals infected with it, they can become infected. However, this infection is not spread between humans. Knowing about the anthrax vaccine and its side effects is crucial in helping to prevent the spread of this dangerous infectious disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Anthrax?

The symptoms depend on the type of anthrax a person has. Those with cutaneous anthrax can experience:

  • Swelling in nearby lymph nodes and the sore
  • A bump that itches and is raised that rapidly becomes a sore with blackness in the center

Those with gastrointestinal anthrax can experience:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting (can become bloody as disease gets worse)
  • Fever
  • Sore throat along with trouble swallowing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen neck
  • Bloody diarrhea that is severe (present in later stages)

Those with Pulmonary (Inhalation) Anthrax can experience:

  • Mild chest discomfort
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • High fever (as disease progresses)
  • Shock (as disease progresses)
  • Trouble breathing (as disease progresses)
  • Meningitis (as disease progresses)

What is the Anthrax Vaccine and What is its Purpose?

This vaccine is administered to prevent anthrax. However, not everyone can get this vaccine. It is currently being administered to those with the highest chance of being exposed, such as laboratory workers, those in the United States Armed Forces, and those who go into contaminated areas. If anthrax is used as a weapon, those who are exposed, would be able to get this vaccine.

What are the Possible Side Effects and Precautions of the Anthrax Vaccine?

There is a chance of anthrax vaccine side effects. Injection site reactions can include:

  • Tenderness
  • Itching
  • Bruise
  • Redness
  • Lump

Other possible reactions include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Temporary arm movement limitation
  • Headache

Serious allergic reaction is also possible, but very rare affecting less than one in every 100,000 doses.

There is not evidence to support that any long-term health problems will occur with the anthrax vaccine.

Who Should Not Get the Anthrax Vaccine?

Certain people should not have the anthrax vaccine. In some cases, the risks will outweigh the benefits of this vaccine. Those who may have to avoid the anthrax vaccine include:

  • Anyone has ever experienced an allergic reaction after having the anthrax vaccine
  • Anyone who has had Guillain Barre syndrome
  • Pregnant women
  • Anyone who has a known severe allergy to any of the vaccine’s components or latex
  • Anyone with a moderate of severe illness

Everyone should tell their doctor about all medications they have taken, or currently are taking, and about their full medical history.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Anthrax Vaccination. Retrieved on June 23, 2010 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Medicine Net. (2010). Anthrax. Retrieved on June 23, 2010 from Medicine Net:

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Syringe and Vile: zeathiel –