Adverse reactions, symptoms and illnesses

Samples of early adverse reactions – a list of adverse reactions service members and veterans reported during the years approximately 1991-2000.

Adverse reactions to the anthrax vaccine are varied, simply because each person’s immune system functions a little differently and because the conditions under which the vaccine has been stored and the timeline of a service member’s vaccinations also vary. The most common adverse reactions include bone and joint pain, skin rashes and infections, short-term memory loss, severe fatigue, headaches, and vertigo. Other reactions include seizures, blackouts, cysts and tumors on internal organs, autoimmune illnesses, vision problems, hormone problems such as testosterone failure in men, hemorrhaging and inability to conceive in women, and tingling and numbness in the extremities.

Some troops have reacted immediately to the anthrax vaccine; for others, reactions seem to set in a bit later, within days or weeks and gradually increasing in intensity. For reasons we do not understand, the fourth shot in the series tends to be the “kicker.” Many troops will get through the first three shots in pretty good shape, but the fourth shot – due six months after the first three – may send them into a no-man’s land of ill health from which they cannot seem to recover. Yet, other troops react immediately to the first shot; and others don’t report severe problems until the fifth or sixth shot. Of course, there are those who do not seem to get sick at all. But a University of Kansas study does indicate that the anthrax vaccine plays a role in a long-term decline in subjective health, so it is worth keeping careful track of your health at all times after receiving the vaccine.

There are also some lot numbers which we have learned to associate with especially adverse reactions. In the early years, they were 020, 030, 017 and 041.

Adverse reactions to the smallpox vaccine include disfiguring skin disorders, blindness, neurological impairments and death. No one knows what percentage of recipients will suffer these complications.