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Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis.
In response to the use and possible future use of anthrax as a biological weapon, the following recommendations have been made:footnote 1
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.footnote 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 the Public Health Agency of Canada's Emergency Preparedness website at www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ep-mu/anthrax-eng.php. You can also check updated recommendations from the United States government on the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at www.cdc.gov/anthrax/index.html.
CitationsCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Use of anthrax vaccine in the United States: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2009. MMWR, 59(RR-6): 1–30. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr//preview/mmwrhtml/rr5906a1.htm.U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2005). Anthrax. Available online: http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/anthrax.htm.
Current as of: July 12, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics & Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease & Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
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