Air Force administered expired anthrax vaccine

U.S. Air Force medical facilities stopped administering the anthrax vaccine on October 26 after officials determined that several of its facilities were using vaccine that had expired the same month.

Brig. General Mark Ediger, Commander of the Air Force Medical Operations Agency in San Antonio, Texas, said in a memo that the ban would continue until all treatment centers could confirm that they had non-expired stock, according to

The exception to the ban includes personnel that are slated to deploy before October 29, if the individual treatment center can confirm its vaccine is viable. Medical centers must follow waiver procedures set up by the Air Force Central Command Surgeon General’s office if the vaccine has passed its expiration date.

In addition, before regular vaccinations can occur again, centers will have to verify that everyone who handles the vaccine has completed a review of the proper procedures for vaccine expiration.

"This must include all personnel involved from point of entry of vaccine supply into the [medical treatment facility] through point of service care to the patient and documentation," Ediger said, according to

AMOA is consulting with the Assistant Surgeon General, Health Care Operations and vaccine manufacturers to follow up on those that may have been given the expired vaccine.

Though it is unclear how many may have been given expired vaccine, the Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program still requires troops sent to high-risk areas to be inoculated. The program began amidst controversy in 1998. Legal battles ensued as many service members balked at having to take the vaccine. Troops not sent to high-risk areas are not required to take it.