Anthrax Vaccine: Safe and Effective, or Not?
Intro: The Anthrax vaccine is a mandatory shot for military; while some people are willing to take the shot to save their lives, others believe if they take it, it will ruin theirs.
I. The Anthrax Disease
A. Anthrax is a bacterial infection caused by Bacillus Anthracis.
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1. It primarily affects livestock, but can occasionally spread humans.
a. The infection can be treated, but is almost always fatal.
2. The bacterium produces spores that lay dormant for years in soil and onanimal products.
B. There are three different ways to contract this disease.
1. Cutaneous anthrax is the mildest of the disease.
a. It is contracted through a cut on the skin.
2. Inhalation anthrax is a rare and fatal form of the disease.
a. This form of anthrax is usually fatal, even if treated, resulting infatality
3. Another rare and fatal form of the disease is intestinal anthrax.
a. It is caused by eating meat of an animal that has died of anthrax.
Transition: Now that you know what causes the disease lets talk about the vaccine.
II. The Anthrax Vaccination
A. The vaccine was developed in the 1950s and 60s and approved by the FDA inthe 1970s.
1. The vaccine is a cell- free filtrate, produced from a strain of anthrax that does not cause the disease
2. The vaccine is used for people that are at risk for exposure to the anthrax spores.
3. The vaccine helps your immune system prevent the bacteria from growing and leading the death
B. The immunization consists of 6 shots. 3 are given two weeks apart and the other 3 are given at 6, 12, and 18 months.
1. There is also a booster shot that can be taken to keep the vaccine up to date in one year intervals.
Transition: Now that we have some of the basic information on the disease and vaccine, lets look at the pros and cons of it.
III. Why you should take the vaccine.
A. The main argument for taking the vaccine is that anthrax kills, and the vaccine protects.
1. Right now there are at least ten countries in Southeast Asia and Korea with biological weapons.
2. Anthrax remains the weapon of choice for germ welfare.
a. It is very easy to weaponries and almost always deadly. (Cragin)
B. In regards to safety, it is apparently one of the safest out there.
1. As of July 1999, the rate of the adverse reactions to the anthrax vaccine was lower than adverse reactions for the vaccine of Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.
2. Ongoing supervision by the FDA and supplemental testing, BioPort demonstrates that the vaccine is safe and effective.
a. The vaccine will protect our troops
1. Sending our men and women into battle without the anthrax vaccine would be the same as sending out troops into battle without a helmet. This would deny them the protection they need to perform and accomplish a mission. We could not send the them into an unprotected arena with known threats, like anthrax. (Cragin)
Transition: With all there reasons why to take it, it might be difficult to think of any reason not to, but there are some.
VI. Why should you not take the vaccine
A. IT may be that anthrax kills and vaccinations protect, but the question here is, is it worth it?
1. According to the FDAs product information leaflet, there have been no studies to determine that the vaccine causes cancer, effects fertility, and protects you from inhaled anthrax spores.
2. There are also 2 chemicals that have not been approved for human consumption : Formaldehyde and Benzethonium chloride.
3. Another fact about this whole situation is that physicians dont know very much about this vaccine, except for what the government tells them.
B. The number of adverse reactions is surprisingly lower, many believe that it may be due to underreporting.
1. Last year the General Accounting Office surveyed reserve pilots and aircrew and found that 25% were leaving the service because of the anthrax shot program.
2. Richard Blumenthal said that the anthrax vaccination program should be illegal.
A. The anthrax vaccine involves an injection of an experimental drug.
1. They cant experiment on humans so there is no hard evidence that it protects against inhaled anthrax.
B. I this case the vaccine cannot b given to service members without informed consent except during an emergency.
Transition: Now that you have heard about the vaccines downfall, lets review everything
Conclusion: We now know that anthrax is a fatal bacterium that can be contracted without your knowing. We also know that the vaccine can protect you. It has been tested since 1965, because it is the leading biological agent for germ warfare. We also know that it had a lower number of adverse effects in comparison with 3 other vaccines. Even with all that, there are still reasons why some wont take the vaccine, like a lack of testing. It hasnt been tested to see if it causes cancer, infertility, or even protects you from inhaled anthrax. Both arguments can end with the same statement, I dont want to get anthrax, The question is what you are willing to risk to save yourself.