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Vaccinations and Medications during Service

Some Veterans have raised concerns about certain vaccines and medications they received while serving in the military. Find out more about these vaccines and medications.

Female Servicemember getting vaccinated

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

  • VA continues to evaluate the health effects of Gulf War vaccinations, including anthrax and botulinum toxoid.
  • Pyridostigmine bromide (PB) is a pre-treatment drug taken by Service members during the 1990-1991 Gulf War to protect against nerve agent attacks.
  • Mefloquine (brand name: LariamĀ®) is a drug given to military personnel to protect against malaria, an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes.
  • Anthrax vaccine is a series of six shots to protect against the infectious, bacterial disease anthrax, which has been used in biological warfare. Learn more from the Department of Defense (DoD).
  • Smallpox vaccine prevents smallpox, a deadly, viral disease. Because there is concern that smallpox could be used as a biological weapon, members of the military are vaccinated against it. Learn more from Medline Plus.

If you are concerned about long-term side effects from vaccinations or medications during your military service, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.

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