Smallpox Inoculation Urged for Employees of Hospitals
October 17, 2002
A panel of specialists advising the government on smallpox vaccinations yesterday recommended offering the immunization to an estimated half-million emergency room workers, doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists in intensive care units, and x-ray technicians. The government usually follows vaccine recommendations from the panel, which advises the CDC, but President Bush has gotten several proposals, including offering the vaccine to up to 10 million health and emergency workers, or to all Americans before any attack occurs. The panel said workers should be asked whether they are pregnant or infected with HIV before receiving the vaccine. Both conditions can increase the risk of adverse reactions to the smallpox vaccine, which experts consider the most dangerous of all immunizations. The panel, which continues its meeting today in Atlanta, did not require that workers be tested for HIV or pregnancy before being vaccinated. The panel recommended that vaccination recipients place a strip of gauze covered by a bandage over the vaccine injection sore because the immunization contains a live virus that can spread elsewhere on the body and to other people.
New York Times
10.17.02; Lawrence K. Altman
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