Anthrax vaccine

Name: Anthrax vaccine

Who should not get anthrax vaccine or should wait?

  • Anyone who has had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of anthrax vaccine should not get another dose.
  • Anyone who has a severe allergy to any vaccine component should not get a dose. Tell your provider if you have any severe allergies, including latex.
  • If you have ever had Guillain Barr syndrome (GBS), your provider might recommend not getting anthrax vaccine.
  • If you have a moderate or severe illness your provider might ask you to wait until you recover to get the vaccine. People with mild illness can usually be vaccinated.
  • Vaccination may be recommended for pregnant women who have been exposed to anthrax and are at risk of developing inhalation disease. Nursing mothers may safely be given anthrax vaccine.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before receiving anthrax vaccine?

You should not receive this vaccine if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to an anthrax vaccine.

To make sure anthrax vaccine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • an allergy to latex, aluminum hydroxide, benzothonium chloride, or formaldehyde;

  • a weak immune system caused by receiving certain medicines such as steroids, chemotherapy or radiation; or

  • if you take a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven).

Vaccines may be harmful to an unborn baby and generally should not be given to a pregnant woman. However, not vaccinating the mother could be more harmful to the baby if the mother becomes infected with a disease that this vaccine could prevent. Your doctor will decide whether you should receive this vaccine, especially if you have a high risk of infection with anthrax.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of anthrax vaccine on the baby.

It is not known whether anthrax vaccine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is anthrax vaccine given?

This vaccine is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle or under the skin.

Anthrax vaccine is recommended before exposure for adults age 18 through 65 in the following situations:

  • people who handle anthrax bacteria in a laboratory or other work setting;

  • people who handle animal hides or furs imported from areas where anthrax is common;

  • people who handle meat or other animal products in areas where anthrax is common;

  • veterinarians who travel to countries where anthrax is common; and

  • military personnel at risk of exposure through potential biological warfare when anthrax may be used as a weapon.

When used after exposure, anthrax vaccine is given in combination with antibiotic medicine. Be sure to use the antibiotic for the full prescribed length of time, even if you feel fine.

The anthrax vaccine is given in a series of shots. An annual booster shot is also recommended every year during possible exposure to anthrax. Follow your doctor's instructions or the booster schedule recommended by the health department of the state where you live.

Anthrax vaccine adsorbed Breastfeeding Warnings

There are no data on the excretion of anthrax vaccine into breast milk. Administration of non-live vaccines is not contraindicated during breast-feeding.

Anthrax Vaccine Identification

Substance Name

Anthrax Vaccine

Drug Class