Dying To Serve – A Spotlight On The Military’s Mandatory Anthrax Vaccine Program

Previously published in a 2008 online newsletter

I watched a recent episode of the Montel Williams show, with keen interest. Having several generations of family members who served in the military, including but not limited to my father, brother and nephew, I wanted to learn about the military’s implementation of vaccines to its soldiers. The subject matter of this show was the anthrax vaccine in the military’s voluntary/mandatory vaccination programs. I listened to several medically discharged Air Force veterans describe how the receipt of the anthrax vaccine, quickly, dramatically, and permanently altered their lives.

One victim described how at age 35, she was told that her neurological problems, slurred speech and the documented shrinking of her brain’s cerebellum (the portion controlling motor skills, coordination, and balance); and damage to her frontal lobe were “possibly” related to her receipt of the anthrax vaccine. She had genetic testing done to prove her illness was not a predisposition.

According to the guest, at the onset of her illness, she was told by the military that it was “normal” and that it would “go away in a month”. She also describes how she was told to “go home and see if friends or family noticed” her disability. She was eventually honorably medically discharged and given 100% disability.

A guest of the show was Scott Miller, who created the film documentary “A Call to Arms”, which he said was “too controversial” for television and film festivals. His film included a female pilot who felt “betrayed” by the army’s implementation of the anthrax vaccine, after which she says she suffered memory lapses, weight loss and horrible seizure-like brain activity following meals, which left her within minutes, curled in the fetal position crying.

Other guests described how 55 of 120 military pilots (about half a squadron) walked out of a May 1999 Dover Air Force Base (Delaware) meeting on anthrax, and quit because they refused to take the then-mandatory vaccine. A retired Sergeant, after receiving one of the six-shot series, had a reaction and filed a VAERS report, (vaccine adverse events reporting service) which prevented him from being forced to receive the balance of the immunizations.

Surveillance for adverse events following vaccination is monitored and jointly managed by the FDA and the CDC, who together with the NIH and Department of Defense, say that the anthrax vaccine is “safe and effective.” From 1990 to 2001, over 2 million doses of the anthrax vaccine were administered in the United States, with approximately 1850 (6%) spontaneous, “serious” reports of adverse events following vaccination.

The program discussed the fact that military women who received the anthrax vaccine are advised not to become pregnant within 18 months following the receipt of the vaccine, because of pregnancy problems and “possible” birth defects. Images of many children with missing and disfigured limbs were shown on the program. These recommendations are echoed within documents such as the Review of VAERS Anthrax Vaccine Reports Received Through 8/15/05, which described 6 reports of women who received the vaccine while pregnant.

Spontaneous abortions, renal failure, birth defects, and deaths were reported, suggesting that the vaccine “may” be linked to an increase in the number of birth defects when given during pregnancy.[1] The package insert dated January 31, 2002 from Biothrax™ (Anthrax vaccine adsorbed [AVA], Bioport, Inc., Lansing, MI), says the same thing, according to unpublished Department of Defense data. The insert recommends “Although these data are unconfirmed, pregnant women should not be vaccinated against anthrax unless the potential benefits of vaccination have been determined to outweigh the potential risk to the fetus”, and administration of the non-live vaccine during breast-feeding was also medically contraindicated. The frequency of reactions following vaccination would appear minimal according to the package insert.

And yet the CDC indicates in a Notice to readers dated 02/15/02 (just one month later than the creation of the package insert), that with respect to Anthrax, “no studies of animals or pregnant women have been conducted” – which would seem to indicate that safety and/or efficacy were unknown at that time period.[2]

Data from the VAERS Vaccine Reports from 2005 discusses 390 (9.1%) “serious” adverse events reported out of 4,279 received. This is significantly higher than the manufacturer’s reported adverse events rate of 0.2%. These numbers are more likely 5- 35% according to the Anthrax Vaccine Network, Inc. (www.mvrd.org/AVN/), an informational web site about the vaccine, including suggestions for military members facing mandatory vaccine receipt.

The VAERS Reports list whole-body, nervous system, cardiovascular, muscoskeletal skin, digestive and respiratory adverse events as the most common, with many problems surfacing within the first 90 days, including 3 suicides, at doses 2, 3, and 4, at days 875, 1150 and one day, respectively, following vaccination; 3 reports of bipolar disorder following 1 dose, and 13 reports of depression after between 1 and 6 doses of the vaccine.[1]

Patent applications for the U.S. licensed vaccine for anthrax Anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA) indicate that “AVA elicits relatively high degree of local and systemic adverse reactions probably mediated by variable amounts of undefined bacterial products, making standardization difficult…” (Patent #7,261,900).

Admission that anthrax is a “complex, poorly understood disease…” can be found within U.S. Patent # 7,279,320, filed in June 2003. Patent #5,840,312, filed in October 1994 for recombinant Baccillus anthracis strains, discusses the swapping of anthrax protein plasmids (gene manipulation) to create within the body, the desired protective antibody effects. This deletion of genes and insertion of a “DNA cassette” changes the coding for anthrax proteins which normally create a toxic effect.

There are 3 proteins in the Anthrax toxin; protective antigen (PA), lethal factor (LF) and edema factor (EF). Neither LF nor EF is toxic alone, but combined with PA, they can produce deleterious effects. The reengineered proteins which should be rendered harmless cause the body to produce antibodies to anthrax. This process is not dissimilar to the way that other vaccines might work. But since anthrax is admittedly poorly understood, recipients might want to question the vaccine’s safety and efficacy and examine available research.

While there are a number of studies describing the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, one study of adverse reactions monitored 129 vaccine recipients (including 24 who had been immunized 7 years previously and subsequently re-immunized). Participants were monitored at 0, 3, 6 and 24 weeks. Initial adverse reactions were reported in 63% of patients. 45% of those with adverse reactions caused incapacity. At 24 weeks, only 22% had completed the vaccination series.

The study concluded that immunization with anthrax resulted in a higher prevalence of adverse reactions, and initial incapacity of “military significance” of 18%. The study also indicated that “poor completion rates necessitate development of a new anthrax immunization strategy.”[3]

Indeed what is the safety and efficacy of a vaccine “soup” which consists of additives such as “harmless” parts of anthrax bacteria, aluminum, benzethonium chloride, formaldehyde, and squalene? The military’s AVIP (anthrax vaccine immunization program) describes ingredients in the anthrax vaccine which it says are all FDAapproved. The site lists the PA protein (protective antigen) as the vaccine’s main ingredient. It states with regard to the aluminum adjuvant, that “many other vaccines contain aluminum” – but this does not mean it is safe. It also says that benzethonium chloride is a preservative (also used in medications, injections, eardrops and creams). Formaldehyde is a stabilizer to increase shelf-life, and that “trace amounts” of squalene have been “detected in some lots of anthrax vaccine.” It claims that squalene is “an oil found naturally in the human bloodstream that is essential for life.”[4]

The Vaccination Liberation information website discusses the composition of vaccines and has this to say about some of these ingredients. Aluminum is listed on at least 2 federal regulatory lists, is more hazardous than most chemicals, and is a cardiovascular or blood toxicant, and is a neuro- and respiratory toxicant. It is an EDF-suspected carcinogen. Formaldehyde is an EDF-recognized carcinogen, and is immuno-, neuro-, reproductive, skin, organ, gastro and liver toxicant. It is on at least 8 federal regulatory lists, and one of the most hazardous compounds in human health (and worst 10% to ecosystems).

See http://www.vaclib.org/basic/vacingredient.htm.

Benzethonium chloride is an anti-infective used in cosmetics, and personal care products like anti-itch creams, towelettes and wipes. It is orally toxic and is a neuromuscular toxicant. Squalene occurs naturally in humans, plants and marine animals, and is a biochemical precursor to the whole family of steroids. It is also an important anti-oxidant and anti-cancer tool. The FDA found squalene at 10 to 83 parts per billion within 3 vaccines; anthrax, tetanus and diptheria.[4]

The National Vaccine information center (Vienna, VA, http://www.nvic.org) says that the vaccine adjuvant “MF59” which contains squalene, and which can cause autoimmunity, is something the NIH (National Institutes of Health), is proposing for flu vaccines. It says that Gulf War veterans were given anthrax vaccines and tested positive for squalene antibodies, despite the U.S. Department of Defense’s denial that MF59 appeared in their vaccines. The site warns of mandatory vaccines containing squalene that could one day be declared mandatory during epidemics. The site also says that the vaccine adjuvant, MF59 is not licensed in the U.S. as safe for human use. Some ill Gulf War veterans who were given anthrax and other experimental vaccines, have tested positive for squalene antibodies.[5]

A letter from Dr. Galo Grijalva dated February 7, 2005 to the FDA alleged that the squalene-containing anthrax vaccine was “illegally given to our solders” and was “not the same vaccine that was originally licensed, nor was it used for what it was licensed for.” Dr. Grijalva calls the anthrax vaccine “a monumental travesty, and a raping of an unsuspecting and patriotic force.” Dr. Grijalva urges the FDA to stop the Dept. of Defense’s “illegal” use of the adjuvant. Dr. Grijalva mentions the recent study by Russian scientist Ken Allibeck which acknowledged that bioengineered anthrax would be resistant to any vaccine or antibiotics.[6]

Some audience members walked out in obvious anger and upset during the middle of the Montel show, and of whom Montel pointed out consisted mainly of active duty service members. Perhaps the audience members were angered by the mere mention that there could be a causal relationship between what the military was injecting into voluntarily enlisted men and women, and the possibility that the injections might be causing irreparable harm. Montel was undeterred however by the interruption. The adage “the truth hurts” may certainly apply to this situation.

No one wants to believe that in return for voluntarily serving our country, that the U.S. military might entertain the utilization of its soldiers as experimental guinea pigs in its vaccination research programs (and I am not saying that they are), or that they might inadvertently be harming our children instead of protecting them while they heroically and unselfishly protect and serve the American people.

Those watching the Montel show are nevertheless left with many questions unanswered, among which is, “are vaccines of any kind effective, or even safe?” Whatever your position on the anthrax and other vaccines, before deciding if vaccination is right for you, you must do the research and consider all options, including ingredients, risks, your overall health, disease history, genetics, side-effects and benefits. It would seem that making the decision to vaccinate (or not) is becoming nearly as complex as the vaccines themselves.

In this day and age, we can no longer rely on anyone’s advice or government recommendations alone. Vaccines are not fool-proof and long-term studies have yet to determine safety and efficacy. The bottom line with the anthrax vaccine at least at this time, is as stated within its patent application, that it is complex and poorly understood.

Isn’t that enough to make you stop and think before you agree to be vaccinated? It does for me.



[1] FDA. Review of VAERS Anthrax Vaccine Reports Received Through 8/15/05, and Adverse Event Reports Submitted to Docket No. 1980N-0208. 2005 Dec 13. Access at:

[2] CDC. Notice to Readers: Status of U.S. Department of Defense Preliminary Evaluation of the Association of Anthrax Vaccination and Congenital Anomalies. MMWR Weekly. 2002 Feb 15;51(06);127. Access at:

[3] Hayes SC, World MJ. Adverse reactions to anthrax immunisation in a military field hospital. J R Army Med. Corps. 2000 Oct;146(3):191-5. Access at:

[4] Military Vaccine (MILVAX) Agency. AVIP Vaccine Facts. 2007. [web site] Access at:

[5] Letter to Colonel Rober P. Kadlec, M.D., United States Senate. 2005 Nov. 15. Access at:

[6] Grijalva G. [Letter] 1980N-0208-Biological Products; Bacterial Vaccines and Toxoids; Implementation of Efficacy Review. FDA comment # EREG4. 2005 Feb. 7.


3 thoughts on “Dying To Serve – A Spotlight On The Military’s Mandatory Anthrax Vaccine Program

  1. I was forcibly administered the anthrax vaccine by the US military & I’m now suffering from constant pain in my eyes & occipital lobes, constant migraines, & fibromyalgia.

  2. In Sept 1999 I insisted in the Navy. During bootcamp after my vaccinations I tried to commit suicide. I was then discharged from the military. A month after I was home I had a miscarriage and three months later I became pregnant with no difficulties. I had a c-section to a healthy baby boy. He is 15 now. He has severe vision problems now and is color blind. My other two children have great vision. Over the years my health and mental health has went down hill. I have been diagnosed with bipolar,depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder. I have been referred to a multipal sclerosis spealist. I have many symptoms that point to this disorder. In Sept 1999 I did have the anthrax vaccination. My question is can these be related to the vaccines I received during my short stay in boot camp.

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