CAN YOU LOSE YOUR HAIR FROM A VACCINE?
A Case Investigation
By Mohammed Ali Al-Bayati, PhD
Dixon, CA 95620
Phone: (707) 678-4484
Fax: (707) 678-8505
Air Force Reserve Master Sgt. Clarence L. McNamer lost his hair in June of 2000, following two months of receiving his fifth shot of the anthrax vaccine (AV). He received five anthrax shots and a typhoid shot within an eleven and half month period (Table 1). The AV was manufactured by Bioport, Inc., Lansing, Michigan. McNamer is a 51 year-old white male with 31 years of service in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. His duty is that of a flying crew chief on a C-5 aircraft at Travis Air Force Base in California. McNamer has also worked at Travis Air Force Base since 1972 as an aircraft fuels hydrant specialist and an aircraft maintenance technician.
Table 1. McNamer’s Vaccination History Preceding his hair loss
Vaccination Shot Inoculation Vaccine Interval time (weeks)
Type* # Date Lot # given between shots
Anthrax 1 4/17/1999 FAV043 First Inoculation
Anthrax 2 5/01/1999 FAV043 2
Anthrax 3 7/10/1999 FAV044 10
Anthrax 4 1/22/2000 FAV031 30
Typhoid 1 1/22/2000 R0234 0.1
Anthrax 5 4/01/2000 FAV031 10
* Volume injected per vaccine = 0.5 mL
McNamer developed flu-like symptoms after six weeks of receiving his fifth AV injection and two weeks later he developed scalp hair loss. His wife was cutting his hair and that noticed five round areas about the size of quarters in various locations on his scalp were missing hair and had sores in them. Six weeks later, he lost most of his hair. He also lost hair from his eyebrows and facial area.
In addition to hair loss, McNamer suffered from systemic illnesses after receiving his fifth AV shot. These include reduction in his eyesight; insomnia; headaches; involuntarily twitches of the right arm muscle; and memory loss. He was also feeling chronically tired, had hot and cold flashes on his head, and cold flashes on the back of his neck.
McNamer consulted with several physicians, both in the Air Force and civilian sectors, and had many medical tests [1-14]. He was hoping to find out about the possible cause(s) of his sudden health problems and to obtain proper treatments to stop the progress of his illness and to reverse the damage. He spent several thousands dollars of his own money on consultations with physicians and medical tests and more than one hundred hours of his sick leave and annual leave. Physicians told him that he was suffering from alopecia areata (middle-aged male baldness) and/or autoimmune disease [15, 16]. Some physicians recommended treating him with corticosteroids, which have serious side effects.
McNamer did not accept the diagnoses given by his physicians in the Air Force and civilian sectors that he was suffering from middle-aged male baldness or autoimmune disease. He suspected that his sudden health problems may have been caused by AV and/or his exposure to jet fuel at his workplace. He has worked as an aircraft fuels hydrant specialist and an aircraft maintenance technician at Travis Air Force Base since 1972 and may have had occupational exposure to certain levels of JP-8 jet fuel. By June of 2000, his hair loss became more severe, his medical expenses reached several thousands of dollars, and he became depressed. The Air Force, his workplace, and his private medical insurance did not want to pay his medical expenses. The Air Force denied the link between his illness and the vaccine, he did not have proof to show that the jet fuel caused his illness, and his private medical insurance does not pay medical expense for a diagnosis of male pattern baldness [15, 16].
McNamer consulted with me in June of 2000 and requested that I evaluate the medical evidence in his case. He was hoping to know the possible cause(s) that triggered his sudden illness and to get my recommendations for proper treatments to stop the progress of his illness and to reverse the damage. I evaluated McNamer’s case history, the impact of his exposure to chemicals at his workplace on his health, his medical records, and adverse reactions to vaccines. I used differential diagnosis to evaluate the involvement of all possible agents, individually, and the possible synergistic actions among agents, that might have been involved in McNamer’s sudden illness. I found that AV likely caused McNamer’s sudden hair loss by inducing zinc deficiency.
My recommendations to stop the progress of McNamer’s illness and to reverse his hair loss and other systemic damage induced by the vaccines consisted of oral treatment with zinc gluconate (60 mg zinc per day), alpha lipoic acid (200 mg per day), and vitamin supplement . Signs of hair recovery were observed after about three months of treatment with zinc. Complete recovery occurred in about nine months. The hair recovery began with the appearance of fine white hair and then his hair became more coarse and black.
In January of 2001, I submitted my report on McNamer’s case to the medical authorities in the Air Force describing my findings and recommendations . They evaluated my findings and granted McNamer a waiver against taking more anthrax vaccine shots [15, 16]. Furthermore, in March of 2002, he was compensated with $ 11,000 to pay for his medical expanses. He was also compensated for the 130 hours that he took from his sick leave and annual leave to visit doctors and to have medical tests done. Below are descriptions of the medical evidence and the procedure that I used to identify the causes of McNamer’s illness.
Review of medical evidence and identification of causes of illness in McNamer’s case:
McNamer had enjoyed good health prior to receiving his fifth anthrax shot on April 1, 2000 (Table 1). My review of his work history showed that he has worked as an aircraft fuels hydrant specialist and an aircraft maintenance technician at Travis Air Force Base since 1972 and the primary chemical product used in his workplace was JP-8 jet fuel. The long-term exposure to low levels of jet fuel at the workplace can cause dermatitis in the areas of contact such as in the hands of workers but not a sudden systemic hair loss as shown in McNamer’s case. McNamer lost a significant amount of hair from the scalp, eyebrows and facial area. The microscopic examination of the skin biopsy taken from the scalp did not show any evidence of dermatitis or any abnormal changes that indicated McNamer was suffering from dermatitis or an autoimmune disease .
Furthermore, McNamer developed flu-like symptoms following six weeks of receiving AV and two weeks prior to suffering from hair loss.
The results of his lung-function test and chest x-rays were normal and these results indicated that McNamer did not have a significant exposure to JP-8 jet fuel (by inhalation) that causes respiratory system problems or sudden hair loss [9, 14]. In addition, the results of several blood tests taken during the first three months of McNamer’s illness showed that his hematological and serum values were within normal range [2, 3, 6, 7]. The results of his blood tests also indicated that he had normal thyroid function and no indication of autoimmune disease.
My review of the medical literature on the adverse reactions to vaccines indicated that there was a link between McNamer’s sudden hair loss and vaccination. For example, I reviewed literature showing that a total of sixty individuals developed hair loss following immunizations. The age of these patients (males and females) ranged from 2 months to 67 years. Intervals from vaccination to onset of hair loss in fifty cases was within one month following immunization. Furthermore, sixteen of these patients reported severe and extensive hair loss over more than half of the head or the body. One of these cases was a 56-year-old woman who received the influenza virus vaccine and ten weeks later developed hair loss affecting her scalp and axillae. The result of a scalp biopsy was negative. This woman also suffered from severe hair loss one year earlier after her immunization with the influenza virus vaccine .
Sudden hair loss similar to those cases has also been reported in people who suffered from zinc deficiency . In one series, diffuse hair loss occurred in 47 out of 130 patients who underwent Vertical Gastroplasty (VG). All patients had been routinely advised to take multivitamin supplements, but 47 developed hair loss despite taking the supplement. These patients were then prescribed zinc sulphate 200 mg three times a day in addition to their vitamin supplementation. Arrest of hair loss and regrowth occurred in all patients. However, five patients reported recurrence of hair loss after stopping zinc treatment and this loss was reversed within 6 months of receiving zinc 600 mg daily .
Adverse reactions to AV that required hospitalization have also been described in individuals that received this vaccine [20, 21]. For example, after the first AV dose, 47(7.9%) of 595 individuals reported seeking medical advice and/or taking time off work for complaints (e.g., muscle or joint aches, headache, or fatigue). These health problems were also reported by 30 (5.1%) of 585 individuals after the second AV dose, 30 (5.1%) of 585 individuals after the third dose, and 16 (3.0%) of 536 individuals after the fourth dose, 17 (3.1%) of 536.
Furthermore, the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) received 428 reports related to anthrax vaccination adverse effects as of April 7, 2000.
Of these 311 (72.9%) concerned systemic reactions, 78 (18.2%) were reports of mild or moderate local reactions, and 39 (9.1%) were of large or complicated local reactions. Thirty-six cases (8.4%) met the Department of Defense mandatory reporting criteria (i.e. hospitalization and/or time off duty greater than 24 hours).
The likely explanation for the sudden loss of hair in McNamer’s case was the activation of his immune system by AV that resulted in zinc deficiency. He received his fifth anthrax vaccine shot at ten weeks following his immunization with anthrax and typhoid vaccines (Table 1). Zinc is an essential element for hair metabolism and for functions of the immune system. In addition to hair loss, zinc deficiency also leads to the impairment of the unspecific and specific immune response. Immunological defects are seen even in marginal and moderate zinc deficiency . The complete reversal of McNamer’s hair loss and the improvement of his health after receiving zinc and vitamin supplements suggests the diagnosis of zinc deficiency was accurate and likely due to adverse reactions to AV.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The medical evidence presented in this report clearly indicates that McNamer’s sudden health problems were likely caused by AV and that his case is not an isolated incident. It also shows that some physicians, in both the military and the civilian sectors, are lacking the proper training to deal with the issue of adverse reactions to vaccines and/or they do not want to face this issue for political and financial reasons.
I have evaluated the health conditions of several individuals who suffered from adverse reactions to vaccines and medications or exposure to chemicals at the workplace. Prior to consulting with me, physicians have assigned diagnoses as autoimmune disease or "causes unknown." Some people were treated with corticosteroids and other immunosuppressant compounds that led to serious health problems.
In addition, I have evaluated four cases of infants who died as a result of adverse reactions to vaccines and medications and their parents or caretakers were falsely accused of killing them and were put in prison based on unscientific testimonies and sloppy medical evidence presented by the physicians and medical examiners involved in these cases. Two of these reports are posted at redflagsdaily.com [23, 24].
We are pleased that the medical authority in the Air Force took the time to review my report and to compensate McNamer for the medical expenses and the time spent on this case. We are also grateful that McNamer was granted a waiver against future AV shots [15, 16]. However, it took McNamer about two years and big efforts on his part and my part to bring this case to a successful conclusion. The available evidence on AV presented in this report shows that up to 7.9% of individuals who received AV suffered from minor to severe adverse reactions. Our medical systems in both military and civilian sectors should be prepared to deal with these serious and costly problems.
Dealing with the problems of adverse reactions to vaccines and medications in a proper and scientific manner, as was eventually the case with McNamer, will help us to better understand the biological actions of vaccines and medications. Physicians need to be more careful of assigning vague diagnoses such as "causes unknown" or autoimmune diseases to health conditions that they can’t properly investigate. They should help their patients to seek help, if necessary, from experienced toxicologists who can determine whether illnesses may be due to adverse reactions to vaccines and medications. Furthermore, physicians who are making decisions for healthcare providers also need to recognize the importance of working with toxicologists.
 Marsha Alexander, M.D., report on McNamer’s health problems, June 6, 2000
 McNamer’s blood test result, June 6, 2000
 McNamer’s blood test result, June 30, 2000
 Howard I. Maibach, M.D., report on McNamer’s health problems, July 7, 2000
 McNamer’s skin biopsy, report, July 7, 2000
 McNamer’s blood test result, July 10, 2000
 McNamer’s blood test result, July 13, 2000
 McNamer’s urine test result, July 13, 2000
 McNamer’s respiratory functions test, report, July 13, 2000
 Roth Rudloph, M.D., report on McNamer’s health problems, July 17, 2000
 Patricia Wiggins, M.D., report on McNamer’s health problems, July 10, 2000
 Patricia Wiggins, M.D., report on McNamer’s health problems, July 13, 2000
 Patricia Wiggins, M.D., report on McNamer’s health problems, July 24, 2000
 McNamer’s chest x-rays, report, July 24, 2000
 Reservist wants restitution for sudden hair loss by David Castellon. Air Force Times, June 25, 2001, http://www.airforcetimes.com
 Doctor: Anthrax vaccine caused problem by Ian Thompson, Fairfield Daily Republic, June 29, 2001
 Al-Bayati’s report on Clarence McNamer’s case sent to Dr. Grennan, LT. Col. USAFR, Chief Aerospace Medicine, on January 4, 2001. A copy of this report was also sent to Donna M. Jasinowski MSgt. USAFR (ART) Superintendent 349th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, 531 Waldron St. Suite D. Travis AFB, CA. 94535-2149 on January 4, 2001.
 Wise RP, Kiminyo KP, Salive ME. Hair loss after routine immunizations. JAMA 1997 Oct 8;278(14):1176-8
 Neve HJ, Bhatti WA, Soulsby C, Kincey J, Taylor TV. Reversal of Hair Loss following Vertical Gastroplasty when Treated with Zinc, Sulphate. Obes Surg, 1996; 6(1):63-65.
 Surveillance for adverse events associated with anthrax vaccination--U.S. Department of Defense, 1998-2000. JAMA, Vol 283, No 20, 2000, pages 2648-2649.
 MMWR Morb Mortal Weekly Rep 2000; April 28; 49(16):341-5.
 Wellinghausen N. Immunobiology of gestational zinc deficiency. Br J Nutr 2001;85 Suppl 2:S81-6
 Al-Bayati, MA. Analysis of Causes That Led to Baby Lucas Alejandro Mullenax-Mendez’s Cardiac Arrest and Death in August-September of 2002
. Al-Bayati, MA. Analysis of Causes That Led to Baby Alan Ream Yurko’s Cardiac Arrest and Death in November of 1997.