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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.

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 Servicemembers during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm to protect against nerve agent attacks.
  • Mefloquine (Lariam®) is a drug given to Servicemembers 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 Defense Health Agency.
  • Smallpox vaccine prevents smallpox, a deadly, viral disease. Because there is concern that smallpox could be used as a biological weapon, Servicemembers 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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