Anthrax shots reduced
March 6, 2009
SEOUL — There’s good news and bad news for servicemembers who don’t like getting shots.
The good news is a December change to Food and Drug Administration guidelines has reduced the number of shots in the anthrax immunization series from six to five. The bad news is, it was the second shot in the series that was removed, meaning those who’d already gotten the second shot still have to finish all six.
The anthrax shots, according to an information paper by the Military Vaccine Agency, are required of all military members and emergency-essential civilians assigned to U.S. Central Command and South Korea, as well as those assigned to units with biodefense-related missions.
Col. William Corr, 8th Army Command surgeon, said more than 85 percent of 8th Army personnel were up to date on their shots under the old regimen, and the reduction brought about another 5 percent current.
Air Force units in South Korea went to the new schedule in January, according to Pacific Air Force command surgeon Col. Sean Murphy. Like the Army, he said, 90 percent of Air Force personnel are up to date on their shots, though the change in the schedule didn’t affect the statistics.
"We track the anthrax immunizations and alert individuals of their next dose due just like all other immunizations," he said.
Both the Army and Air Force require servicemembers to begin the series prior to coming to South Korea.