Anthrax Vaccination

Is there a vaccine or antidote for exposure to anthrax?
Anthrax vaccination is not available for the general public. The US has limited supplies of anthrax vaccine that is currently being used by the military. When treatment is necessary, antibiotics taken for 30-60 days can be used to treat or prevent anthrax.

A protective vaccine has been developed for anthrax; however, it is primarily given to military personnel. Vaccination is recommended only for those at high risk, such as workers in research laboratories that handle anthrax bacteria routinely. The antibiotics used in post exposure prophylaxis are very effective in preventing anthrax disease from occurring after an exposure.

A vaccine has been developed for anthrax that is protective against invasive disease, but it is currently only recommended for high-risk populations. CDC and academic partners are continuing to support the development of the next generation of anthrax vaccines.

Groups Recommended for Vaccination
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended anthrax vaccination for the following groups:
  • Military personnel deployed to areas with high risk for exposure to the organism
  • Persons who handle potentially infected animal products in high-incidence areas
    • While incidence is low in the United States, veterinarians who travel to work in other countries where incidence is higher should consider being vaccinated.
  • Persons who work directly with the organism in the laboratory
  • Persons who work with imported animal hides or furs in areas where standards are insufficient to prevent exposure to anthrax spores.