It was in September 2001 that letters laced with anthrax powder were mailed to political and media targets in Florida, New York, and Washington. Five people died, and soon after, the anthrax vaccine was offered to military personnel. One that medical personnel knew could have side effects, but it was the best they had to offer at the time.
Now, Vaxgen, the maker of a new anthrax vaccine, announced on Monday that it has signed a contract with the government to produce 75 million doses over the next three years. Here's the best news. This new vaccine can be given after exposure or before.
"Once delivered to the stockpile, the intention is it will be held under the control of the Centers for Disease Control to have that vaccine available for emergency use if there is another release in the field like we had in September 2001," says Carmen Belan, Vaxgen.
The Vaxgen anthrax vaccine is expected to be available to the public eventually, but for now, it has not been approved yet by the FDA for anything other than use through the government.