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
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 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
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
 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,
 Patricia Wiggins, M.D., report on McNamer's health problems, July 13,
 Patricia Wiggins, M.D., report on McNamer's health problems, July 24,
 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.