Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis.
The anthrax vaccine is given in a series of six shots over 18 months. Each year a booster dose is given.
The only known way to protect against anthrax before a person is exposed is to get the anthrax vaccine.2
Potential side effects of the vaccine include fever, headache, joint pain, and fatigue.
Even though serious allergic reactions are rare with the anthrax vaccine, call your doctor right away if you have trouble breathing, a high fever, or anything unusual after having the shot.
A person who has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine should not get another dose.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
Pregnant women should be vaccinated only if absolutely necessary.
For more information, go to Health Canada's Emergency Preparedness Web site at www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ep-mu/anthrax_e.html. You can also check updated recommendations from the United States government on the Web site for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/anthrax.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2000). Use of anthrax vaccine in the United States: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. MMWR, 49(RR-15): 1–20. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr4915a1.htm.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (2005). Anthrax. Available online: http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/anthrax.htm.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2002). Use of anthrax vaccine in response to terrorism: Supplemental recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. MMWR, 51(45): 1024–1026.
Last Revised: April 24, 2012
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