Navy Veterans

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Anthrax Shots and Complications

In the world of twenty-first century combat, chemical and biological warfare are real and serious threats. War isn’t simply the shooting of guns or other ammunition as was the case up until World War II and the dropping of the atomic bomb. Today, there are many more ways of killing the enemy.

Anthrax spores, for example, can be produced in vitro and used as a biological weapon. These spores first became a concern during the Gulf War. At that time, an anthrax vaccine was administered to the many soldiers who fought in combat during that war. Conflicting reports have existed as to how many Armed Forces members actually received the vaccination. Even the vets themselves are not sure whether or not they received the shot during that time. Iraq War veterans, however, were required to receive the vaccine and many all concerned about its ill effects.

Is it Safe?

Over the years, evidence has surfaced which indicates that the vaccine meant to protect soldiers from deadly anthrax spores may have actually caused them myriad medical problems. The U.S. Department of Defense has vehemently denied any concerns, but Navy veterans and others who received the vaccine believe otherwise.

In 1998, the Clinton administration demanded inoculation with the anthrax vaccine of all military members, despite warnings by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concerning its safety. That particular program ended in June 2001. However, in the wake of the Sept. and Oct. 2001 anthrax attacks and the start of the Iraq War, the vaccine program was continued in June 2002, irregardless of the fact that their was still questions about the safety of such a vaccine.

No studies have definitively documented occurrence of chronic diseases like cancer among those who were inoculated with the anthrax vaccine. However, myriad veterans have reported sincere concerns about their health following the vaccines, even many years later. In 1994, the U.S. Senate even released a report which stated that anthrax vaccine could not be ruled out as a contributor to so-called Gulf War Sickness. Also, the only studies that claimed the vaccine was safe were conducted by the Department of Defense.

Dr. Meryl Nass, M.D., on her website, notes that some 10 to 30 percent of all soldiers vaccinated have developed some sort of medical problem that may be related to the vaccine. Many reactions were severe and some airmen even lost their ability to fly. The incidence of life-threatening reactions was also reported as high.

Adverse reactions to the vaccine have included the development of such disorders as

  • Myalgia
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Arthritis
  • Joint disease
  • Myelitis
  • Vasculitis
  • Arthralgia
  • Arthrosis
  • Flu syndrome
  • Guillain Barre syndrome

Furthermore, many veterans have reported that they were provided with no information about the vaccine or their potential reaction to it at the time of inoculation.


Overall, studies have determined that the anthrax vaccine has a safety profile significantly worse than that of any other civilian vaccine. It can affect multiple organs in the body and result in permanent disability.

So what can a Navy veteran do if he/she believes they have been negatively impacted by the anthrax vaccine? Victims should first visit their doctor so that he/she can make an accurate health evaluation and determine if any illnesses/disorders may be connected with the anthrax vaccine. If that determination is made, the victim should contact a lawyer who is familiar with the issue in order to determine whether a lawsuit is feasible and compensation is in order.

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