|ANTHRAX AND THE VACCINE|
|Which is worse -- a deadly disease, or the vaccine that guards against it? Experts answer your questions.|
Eveland of Santa Cruz, CA asks:
What are the more acute side effects of the Anthrax vaccine?
Col. Randy Randolf
Like all vaccines, anthrax vaccine may cause soreness, redness, itching, swelling, and lumps at the injection site. About 30% of men and 60% of women report these local reactions, but they usually last only a short while. Lumps can persist a few weeks, but eventually disappear. Injection-site problems occur about twice as often among women. For both genders, between 1% and 5% report reactions at the injection site of 1 to 5 inches in diameter. Larger reactions at the injection site occur in about one in a hundred vaccine recipients.
Beyond the injection site, from 5% up to 35% will notice muscle aches, joint aches, headaches, rash, chills, fever, nausea, loss of appetite, malaise, or related symptoms. Again, these symptoms usually go away after a few days.
Serious events, such as those requiring hospitalization, are rare. They happen about once per 50,000 doses. Severe allergic reactions can occur after any vaccination, less than once per 100,000 doses.
For independent information about vaccines and vaccine safety see:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Immunization Program: http://www.cdc.gov.nip/
"Surveillance for Adverse Events Following Vaccination," September
Meryl Nass responds:
Acute symptoms have varied. Depending on the vaccine lot used (the lots are extremely heterogeneous), between 30% and 100% of recipients develop a red swollen area at the inoculation site.
Acute systemic (occuring elsewhere than the injection site) symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, severe muscle and joint pain, fever, weakness and numbness.