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Mon Apr 13, 2020, 01:31 PM

Vietnam Era Vaccines Given by the Military

I was in the USAF from 1965-69. I got tons of vaccinations as a matter of course, most of them repeats of vaccinations I had also gotten as a child. They didn't care what shots you had as a child. They just lined you up in Basic Training and hit you in both arms with an air-powered injection gun. Nasty.

But then, I got assigned to a base in Turkey, which led me to be standing in another line for more vaccines. Nothing was optional. You got them. Some required multiple shots spaced weeks apart.

Anyhow, while thinking about a vaccine for COVID-19, I consulted my USAF vaccination record, which I still have, for some reason. Among the vaccinations before my deployment to Turkey, were:

Cholera - I don't think that particular vaccine is in use any longer. It might have been experimental at the time.
Typhoid - Another rather rare vaccine, given only to military members heading for Vietnam or other sketchy places.
Typhus - That one is no longer in use. It was a whole-cell killed germ vaccine.
Plague - That one was a monster. Two shots, two weeks apart. The second shot made most of us sick as dogs. That vaccine is no longer used, and hurt like hell when it was injected. I think it was an experimental vaccine, too.
Yellow Fever - As far as I know, that disease doesn't exist in Turkey, but the USAF didn't care.

I'm pretty sure the military has been used for vaccine experiments more than once.

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Arrow 10 replies Author Time Post
Reply Vietnam Era Vaccines Given by the Military (Original post)
MineralMan Apr 2020 OP
LiberalLoner Apr 2020 #1
mwooldri Apr 2020 #2
MineralMan Apr 2020 #5
sarge43 Apr 2020 #3
rickford66 Apr 2020 #7
sarge43 Apr 2020 #8
rampartc Apr 2020 #4
yonder Apr 2020 #6
ooky Apr 2020 #9
Aristus Apr 2020 #10

Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 01:39 PM

1. Yup. I was an Army brat,

Tons of vaccines, extra ones for living in Europe. Then I was enlisted in the reserves. Tons more vaccinations with the air gun in basic training. Then I became an officer and got more vaccines. Got assigned to go to Egypt and got the plague vaccine and a bunch of others and gamma globulin shots in the rear end mid tour. Came back to the states to a unit that required yellow fever and dengue vaccines and I donít know what all else.

My DH received the anthrax vaccine a decade or so ago.

So...yeah...you learned not to even ask. Just get your vaccines.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 01:44 PM

2. I'm wondering if the US military routinely got the BCG vaccine.

It's an anti tuberculosis vaccine but it's being studied as a possible remedy for Covid-19.

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Response to mwooldri (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 01:52 PM

5. I don't think so. I didn't.

Here's a link to the vaccines the military got at different times:

https://academic.oup.com/epirev/article/28/1/3/567796

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 01:48 PM

3. Shot days were always memorable

We TIs aka No Neck Monsters would take a small paper bag with us because at least one of our Eager Young Space Cadets would hyperventilate when they clapped eyes on the Gun.

You must have missed the five pack hit - five syringes duct taped together.

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Response to sarge43 (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 03:00 PM

7. I've told people about the syringes taped together, but I doubt they believed me.

I do remember one time two taped together, two on each arm, at the same time and those medics left them in for a few extra seconds. You couldn't complain or move. This was outside, on a cold February Mississippi morning, stripped to the waist. I think we were all sick after that one.

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Response to rickford66 (Reply #7)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 04:05 PM

8. We scarcely believed it.

Can't expect others who haven't been there, done that, to do so.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 01:48 PM

4. we got more vaccinations in boot camp than there are diseases.

in retrospect, i think we were being shot with steroids.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 02:32 PM

6. This Air Force brat got similar groups

before following Dad overseas. One hurt like hell and gave me a fever for exactly one night ó woke up the next day. and felt fine.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 04:10 PM

9. I can't remember which one it was but none of us could raise our arms

after getting it. We were doing a bunch of one armed jumping jacks after that one.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 04:14 PM

10. I got the typhoid vaccine when I was ordered to Germany in 1989.

It hurt like Hell for a couple of hours, but otherwise, no big deal. (I'm sure there are anti-vaxxers out there who can come up with a rationale for why it's better to be dead from typhoid than for your arm to ache for a few hours...)

The plague vaccine, against Yersinia pestis, was a dismal failure. Lots and lots of side effects, and it wasn't terribly good at preventing plague. I'm glad I didn't need to get it.

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