Jun 2014

Should CDC Staff Routinely Get the Anthrax Vaccine?

The CDC announced last week that the failure to follow established lab safety protocols led to more than 80 of its employees possibly being  exposed to anthrax in early- to mid-June.

All of those staffers have been offered courses of life-saving antibiotics, and most have begun taking the medications.

Whether any of those who were exposed to the anthrax spores have become infected may take as much as two months to determine due to the nature of the pathogen and how it affects the body.

All that raises the question of whether staffers at the CDC and other labs that routinely handle anthrax toxins should be offered a full dose of anthrax vaccine, which is administered in five shots given over 18 months, and followed by annual booster shots.

The CDC’s own website lists three groups of people who should be given the vaccine, which has been available for years:

  • Certain laboratory workers who work with anthrax
  • Some people who handle animals or animal products, such as some veterinarians
  • Some members of the United States military

Another page on the CDC site points out that “in the event of an anthrax attack, people exposed would get the vaccine.”

Seems to us, workers there should have the option to be vaccinated.

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