The Negative Side Effects of the Anthrax Vaccine

Immunization, Anthrax Vaccine Syringe Contain Some Injection And Injection Bottle Isolated On A White Background. Vector Illustration. Vaccination Healthcare Concept.

Any discussion of the side effects of a vaccine is going to be controversial. Because of Andrew Wakefield’s discredited work, many people believe that all vaccines cause a wide array of conditions. 

Because of the backlash against anti-vaccine activists, other people immediately shut down any discussion of vaccine side effects. As with all things, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Vaccines are generally recognized as safe, but there are occasionally bad batches of any medication. 

When a batch of vaccines has contamination or ingredients that are later recognized as dangerous, some may have severe adverse reactions. 

Civilians do not typically take the Anthrax vaccine. There isn’t any real community spread of anthrax. Because of the fear of terrorism or bioweapons, certain military members have to take an anthrax vaccine as a precautionary measure so that they don’t get exposed and bring the disease home, reenergizing a deadly pandemic.

There are few or no side effects for most of those who have to get their Anthrax vaccine. 


Common Side Effects

The anthrax vaccine typically has very mild side effects, similar to any vaccine. The common symptoms that usually pass quickly:

  • The reaction at the injection site. This can be from the general immune response to having something injected into your arm.
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Some people have more severe reactions, similar to an allergic reaction:

  • Swelling of the lips
  • Dizziness
  • Respiratory distress
  • Chest pains and heart palpitations

None of these symptoms are severe enough to consider disabling, but this does not mean that the anthrax vaccine has always been entirely safe.


Gulf War Syndrome

When the US sent troops to fight in the Gulf War in the early 90s, the anthrax vaccine was used on many US troops due to concerns that Saddam Hussein would use chemical weapons on invading forces. 

After the war, many of these soldiers started to demonstrate severe autoimmune conditions. These issues include a long list of life-altering diseases that are difficult to trace back to a single causative link. Some symptoms that have been linked to these autoimmune symptoms include:

  • Autoimmune arthritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Impaired speech
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Congenital disabilities
  • Blindness
  • Paralysis

When Gulf War vets first started complaining of such disparate symptoms, there were rumors of chemical weapons being used against US troops, along with an array of conspiracy theories. When it was proven that none of these things happened, the VA treated these claims as coincidental and not tied to anyone’s service. 

According to Stars and Stripes, 80% of disability claims from Gulf War veterans have been declined. 

In reality, while vaccines are generally very safe, the FDA has determined that Squalene, an oil-based adjuvant was in at least some of the anthrax vaccines administered to US troops in the early 90s. 

Squalene was used in many vaccines in the same period. It has been proven in other vaccines that Squalene causes severe neurological problems and is believed to be the causative factor in many of the broad spectrum of conditions tied under the umbrella of Gulf War Syndrome.

Suppose you are dealing with the VA fighting a disability claim due to uncertain conditions from service in the Gulf War. In that case, you should probably seek the services of a VA disability attorney. Because the symptoms and causes are so vague and debatable, you need an advocate to help you get through the steps of seeking resolution.

To summarize, a disability attorney can navigate the dispute process in a way that you won’t be able to on your own. There is still a robust conversation around long-term side effects of anthrax vaccine in military, and a disability attorney is there to help you have that conversation.