Administering the Anthrax Vaccine

Vaccines Recommended for Travel and Some Specific Groups

This page provides a brief summary of guidance for administering the anthrax vaccine, including route, number of doses, and co-administration with other vaccines.

Visual Inspection

Do not use the anthrax vaccine beyond the expiration date printed on the label.

Prior to administration, visually inspect the vaccine for particulate matter and/or discoloration. If these conditions exist, do NOT use.

Route, Site, and Needle Size

The anthrax vaccine can be administered by the intramuscular or subcutaneous route. For intramuscular injections, the preferred injection site is the deltoid muscle in the upper arm. For subcutaneous injections, the preferred injection site is the fatty tissue over the deltoid muscle. Use a needle length appropriate for the age and size of the person receiving the vaccine.

Number and Timing of Doses

For pre-exposure vaccination, CDC recommends 5 intramuscular doses at 0, 1, 6, 12, and 18 months, followed by annual boosters thereafter.

For post-exposure vaccination, CDC recommends 3 subcutaneous doses at 0, 2, and 4 weeks in conjunction with a 60-day course of appropriate antimicrobial agents.

Predrawing Vaccine Doses

Predrawing vaccine doses is not recommended because there are no data on the stability of vaccines stored in syringes filled by healthcare professionals. Vaccine vials should not be opened until time of administration.

Administration with Other Vaccines

The safety and efficacy of administering the anthrax vaccine during the same visit as other licensed vaccines has not been evaluated. If an anthrax vaccine is to be given during the same visit as another injectable vaccine, the vaccines should be administered at different injection sites, if feasible. Each vaccine should be administered with a separate syringe.

 

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Page last reviewed: November 22, 2016