It looks like the military is once again going to require the anthrax vaccination for troops in "high risk" areas: the Middle East and Korea. The vaccination is controversial, to say the least.
I chose to take the vaccine voluntarily. It seemed to me that the risks involved were not that great, and I had a hunch that it would become required again while I was in Iraq. I decided that I might as well be further along in the series when that happened, and remove some of the headache from my tour.
Today was my fourth shot in the series. I went down to another battalion's medic station to get the shot, along with two others from my platoon and one of the medics. For the fourth time, I glanced over a list of possible side effects and complications, and twice more answered "Yes" when asked "Are you sure you want to receive this shot?". I took off my blouse and rolled up my sleeve. The medic swabbed my skin with an alcohol pad, and stopped with the needle poised over my skin to ask "Are you allergic to any medications?". I replied with a straight face "Only to some vaccine components."
Note to self: Medics don't find jokes about allergic reactions funny.
For ten or fifteen seconds, I didn't feel anything. That was odd- the first three had felt like the medic filled a syringe with Jack Daniels and shot it into my arm. I was just starting to wonder if perhaps I had received a bad dose when the fire hit me like a swift punch, and kept growing. Thirty seconds longer, and I would have been wishing to get hit with real anthrax just to make the shots worth it, but the burning finally subsided.
I have to ask myself: why do I go to so much trouble for something that gives me so much discomfort?