Decades-old anthrax vaccines draw concern

KIMT News 3 – Chances are this is the first time your hearing about the issue of Anthrax in years as veterans today say they question the safety of the vaccines they received before being deployed.

In the early 2000’s, anthrax was one of the more feared infectious diseases in the world, and with the country engaged in the War on Terror, soldiers headed overseas were asked to take a variety of vaccines.

That included one for anthrax and some believe it may have been contaminated.

Mike Flatness is a retired Gulf War veteran and says while in the military there are certain expectations when it comes to serving your country.

“When you sign your enlistment papers you kind of become property of the US Government for lack of better term and if the military deems you should have whatever shots that they deem you should have, your going to get it. You hope that those shots and vaccinations are researched and FDA approved. They may or may not be,” said Flatness.

With a simple online search, you can find hundreds of veterans who say they’ve experienced symptoms that could only have come from this vaccine.

Local veterans in our area say they’re concerned that the very vaccines meant to protect them overseas, could have some negative side-effects.

They blame an additive known as “shark oil” for everything from lupus to neurological conditions.

One poster on the online forums wonders if his neurological condition can be linked to it.

Although there are no reports that the vaccine was contaminated, there’s also no evidence of any long-term effects and any long-term effects could take days, years, even decades to surface.

“There are some issues that the vaccines may or may not address. There’s some issues that won’t show up maybe for two or three generations. There a lot of questions to a lot of issues that have taken place by the military over generations, for a lot of wars,” said Flatness.

We did reach out to the Military Vaccine Agency for a statement and according to their study published back in 2012, there are no known long-term side-effects from the Anthrax vaccine.

Since the military started using the anthrax vaccine in 1998, more than 3 million service members have received at least one vaccination.

For a link to the report published by the Military Vaccine Agency, click on the link below:

http://lintvkimt.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/854avasafetyrvw.pdf

Here is a statement sent to KIMT regarding the anthrax vaccine from the Military Vaccine Agency:

“The anthrax vaccine has been licensed for use in the United States since 1970.  There are no known long-term side effects from the vaccine, as determined by multiple safety studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, the Institute of Medicine, and others.  The anthrax vaccine, like all prescription medications, can cause side effects like soreness, redness, itching, and swelling at the injection site, as well as muscle aches, joint aches, headaches, fever, nausea and malaise.  The symptoms of these reactions mostly disappear within a few days.

The anthrax vaccine is administered to Service members deploying to the Central Command area of responsibility or the Korean Peninsula for 15 or more consecutive days.  Some other designated units with bioterrorism-related missions also receive the vaccine.  It is voluntary for all others who have previously received at least one vaccine dose.  Since the military started using the anthrax vaccine in 1998, more than 3 million Service members have received at least one vaccination, and nearly 12.5 million vaccine doses have been administered.  The Military Vaccine Agency-Vaccine Healthcare Centers Network (MILVAX-VHCH) compiled a summation of the many anthrax vaccine safety reviews that have been conducted over the years, which is available at the following link for your further reference: http://lintvkimt.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/854avasafetyrvw.pdf.

We are committed to understanding of vaccine science, and maintain the capability to treat, monitor and study any adverse events from any vaccination, to ensure the safety of the individual patient and to determine causality of each reaction.  We stand ready to assist anyone concerned about a possible reaction to a vaccine via the MILVAX-VHCN 24/7 DoD Vaccine Clinical Call Center at 866-210-6469.”

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