Skip to content

Information and Resources

Font Size
A
A
A

Frequently Asked Questions About Biological and Chemical Agents

Can I get vaccinated against biological weapons -- anthrax, plague, smallpox, or other diseases -- that might be spread by terrorists?

No. Anthrax and smallpox vaccines are not available to the general public. Doctors and hospitals don't have vaccine supplies for these like they do for other viruses. They would be made available only in emergency situations and to those who would be most likely to be exposed.

Are there enough drugs to go around in case of a widespread outbreak or attack with chemical or biological weapons?

The government has gathered enough smallpox vaccine for everyone in the U.S. in the event of a smallpox attack. No such supply is available for anthrax (only military personnel have been getting vaccinated against anthrax). And there currently is no vaccine available for the plague, but one is being developed. Antibiotics are the first line of defense against anthrax, the plague, and most other bacterial biological threats. Antidotes can treat those who have been exposed to some chemical agents.

The CDC's National Pharmaceutical Stockpile Program sets aside a large supply of antibiotics, chemical antidotes, and other supplies in case of emergency. The goal is to send materials within 12 hours of notification to any U.S. location in the event of a terrorist attack with a biological or chemical agent. The program is a backup to local response and is deployed upon request by the states. The federal government has made arrangements with pharmaceutical companies to make large amounts of additional emergency supplies.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on November 11, 2014
1 | 2

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

sore foot
3 warning signs.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
What it looks like.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms and treatment.
man behind computer screen
10 possible causes.
Woman with itchy watery eyes
Common triggers.
man screaming
Making sense of symptoms.
human liver
What puts you at risk?
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.