Military Vaccine Agency releases standing order for anthrax vaccine administration

The U.S. Military Vaccine Agency released a standing order earlier this month for the proper administration of the anthrax vaccine in adults.

The purpose of the order is to reduce anthrax morbidity and mortality by effectively vaccinating adults who meet criteria established by the Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

The order requires that military physicians vaccinate certain individuals as dictated by combatant command and individuals slated for occupational exposure to anthrax-causing Bacillus anthracis in the laboratory. Individuals who previously received at least one dose of the vaccine may voluntarily receive a booster.

Physicians are advised to administer 0.5 milliliters of the vaccine in the deltoid muscle. The vaccine is part of a five-dose series, with the second dose at four weeks, the third at six months, the fourth at 12 months and the fifth at 18 months.

Military medical personnel must take precautions for individuals with a history of hypersensitivity reactions after vaccination, latex sensitivity, Guillain-Barré Syndrome or any autoimmune neurologic disorders. Contraindications for the anthrax vaccine include serious reactions or anaphylaxis after previous doses to any vaccine components, previous anthrax disease or pregnancy.

Patients with more than one year following the completion of the primary series of the vaccine who remain at risk of anthrax exposure can receive a booster for the vaccine.