Cannon begins DoD Anthrax Vaccine Immunization program

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The Department of Defense has resumed its mandatory anthrax vaccination policy. On Oct. 12, 2006, the Secretary of Defense approved resumption of a policy requiring mandatory anthrax vaccination for individuals deploying or PCSing to designated high threat areas. On Feb. 16, Air Force officials directed the implementation of this policy for all Air Force personnel.

Anthrax currently poses the greatest biological threat to DoD personnel and is the most likely biological weapon to be used by a terrorist, said Lt. Col. Jimmie Bailey, 27th Medical Group deputy commander. The anthrax vaccination is intended to protect Airmen from this threat and has been proven safe and effective, he said.
Important to remember are the following:
-- The health and safety of Airmen is the Air Force's number one concern;
-- The anthrax vaccine is safe and effective;
-- The threat from anthrax is real and deadly;
-- Vaccination offers a layer of protection. In addition to antibiotics and other measures, that is critical for members of the armed forces.

Throughout this week, squadron commanders from the 27th Fighter Wing have been educating their unit personnel on the provisions of the revised plan, said Colonel Bailey.
Beginning Monday, the 27th MDG will begin administering anthrax immunizations in accordance with the new policy. The new policy highlights mandatory vaccination for specific personnel, voluntary vaccination for others and designates personnel who are not authorized to be vaccinated.

In broad strokes, here is the breakdown of the new vaccination policy:
Mandatory vaccination:
-- Active duty members, Emergency Essential (EE) civilians and Mission-Essential (ME) contractors moving or deploying to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR) or the Korean Peninsula for more than 15 consecutive days.
Voluntary vaccination:
-- Any active-duty member or DoD civilian employee who received at least one dose of the anthrax vaccine between 1998 and now may voluntarily continue the vaccine series. These individuals may stop the series at any time, unless required to receive vaccination due to the previously stated circumstances;
-- Adult family members 18-65 accompanying DoD military and civilian personnel for 15 or more consecutive days to the CENTCOM AOR or Korea;
-- U.S. citizen, adult family members 18-65 accompanying U.S. contractor personnel for 15 or more consecutive days to the CENTCOM AOR or Korea;
-- U.S. government civilian employees and citizen contractor personnel, other than those classified as EE or ME, assigned for 15 or more consecutive days to the CENTCOM AOR or Korea.
Vaccination not authorized:
-- Active duty and civilian personnel not assigned to the CENTCOM AOR or Korea for 15 or more consecutive days and who have never received a dose of anthrax vaccine.
Further information on anthrax and other vaccines can be found at

For more information call 784-1104 or the 27th MDG at 784-7801.